|In India, the seeds of despair - LA Times (17/8/2006)|
In India, the seeds of despair
Re "Hope Has Withered for India's Farmers," Aug. 11
Thank you for the article on India's farmers. In the organic farm community, these suicides have been common knowledge for years. Despite the agricultural industry and government interests that proclaim genetic-engineering technology as a panacea for all, this is just one proof that Mother Nature will not comply.
I wish there was more awareness among the public and the government about this issue. Considering that there is a proposed bill in California (SB 1056) trying to take away the right of cities and counties from banning genetic-engineered crops, this is an issue that affects not just India and the rest of the world but us right here in California, where agriculture is a very large part of our economy.
So Indian cotton growers are facing ruin because they cannot compete with cheaper (subsidized) American imports and because their crops are failing because they were persuaded to move to genetically modified seeds (maybe also of American origin) that do not suit their particular soil. What a sad picture of a part of a society made poorer while another part is rushing to reach parity with us in technology. Who, however, would be surprised if an anti-American backlash were to form in these rural areas? Not all anti-Western feeling is religion-based.
The true India is a few miles away from the glittering facades of the new cities, including Bangalore. Not much has changed there. It is a sad fact that rural Indian farmers are driven into financial desperation to the point that they see suicide as the only way out. And nobody is there to help.