Each year, many farmers take their life in India. In 2014 alone, the National Crime Records Bureau of India reported a total of 5, 650 farmer suicides.
Many families in India depend on agriculture, either directly or indirectly. Farmers or Kisans, who have been filling the stomachs of children and families across India for generations, are now being forced into hopeless situations where they are forced to take their own lives.
There are various factors that may lead to higher suicide rates among farmers – climate change (monsoon failure and loss of crops), massive amounts of debt, government policies, and public mental health issues – but accurate information about the problem is difficult to obtain due to the accusations of states misreporting data.
Punjabi farmers severely affected by unseasonal rains or hailstorms in 2015 were mostly small farmers with no other source on income. As a result, many committed suicide by consuming poison and hanging themselves.
Farmer suicide, however, is not a new phenomenon. A Punjab government survey reported 5,000 farmers and farm labourers committed suicide in Punjab between 2000 and 2010, which means three suicides every two days. States such as Bathinda, Sangrur and Mansa were especially affected during this period.
A family from Jagroan supported by SAF. Victims of farmer suicide, they were struggling to put food on the table. SAF was able to find them and provide help in 2014.
Farmers who rely solely on agriculture must use loans from commission agents or arhtiyas to pay for farming equipment as well as the daily household expenses. These loans are easily available whenever the farmers are in urgent need of funds and more accessible than formal loans. Subsequently, even necessary expenses such as paying their children’s tuitions fees or emergency medical expenses become huge financial burdens for farmers. With no other options left, farmers may decide to take their lives.
SAF HELPING AND SUPPORTING FAMILIES OF FARMER SUICIDES
The wives and children left behind to deal with the grief and loss of their family member as well as crippling debt. SAF provides many forms of financial aid and emotional support to victims of farmer suicide who are living in extreme poverty.
SAF pays for any school expense for the children, we rebuild houses for those living in extremely poor conditions, and we provide counseling/mentorship for the family members so they do not lose hope and slip into deeper poverty.
Gagandeep and Gurdeep lost their father to farmer suicide. With the help of SAF they can continue going to school and hope for a better future for their family.