Farmer suicide on the rise in Orissa: NDTV’s report from Sambalpur

March 16, 2010 at 3:33 pm Leave a comment

Following is a report from

Surendra Dhurua had tried to commit suicide five months ago. He lost all his paddy crop on four acres of land to poor monsoon and a pest attack. There was no way he could repay the Rs 13,000 farm loan.

The pesticide would have killed Surendra, except his family reached him to the hospital in time.
“First the rains ditched us. Then the pests finished everything. The loans drove me mad. I wondered what would happen if people demanded repayment? I thought it was better to die,” said Surendra Dhurua, a farmer from Kusumdiha Village, Sambalpur.

Surendra survived an unfortunate season of farm suicides. Forty-three farmers killed themselves towards the end of 2009. Nearly half of them were from Western Orissa, where Sambalpur is.

What’s common to the tragedies:

  • All of them were small farmers
  • Entirely dependent on monsoons for irrigation
  • Sudden Inflation had limited their access to expensive fertilisers and pesticides
  • Most crucial, all of them had borrowed from moneylenders between Rs 10,000 to 25,000 at exorbitant rates, some as high as 25 per cent.

Sambalpur became the epicenter of the crisis where 600 villages lost most of their crop and 5 farmers committed suicide.

”Now that the uncertainties of monsoon has increased, this kind of pest attack has increased and they have also increased their investment by 7 to 8 times. So their entire system has failed them,” said Ranjan Panda, a green activist from Sambalpur.

Orissa has never seen farm suicides at this scale. Forty-three suicides are unprecedented. It is a distressing trend for a state where 80% farmers are small and marginal. 


Entry filed under: Agriculture, Agriculture and Irrigation, Athmallik, Balangir, Bargarh, Boudh, Deogarh, Farmer Suicide, Jharsuguda, Kalahandi, Nuapada, Region watch, Sambalpur, Subarnapur, Sundergarh.

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