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  Adilabad’s antidote to suicides

Sonu Jain writing in the Indian Express picks the reasons why Adilabad district in AP had just 2 farmer suicides in 2006, while barely 100 km away in Yavatmal district in Maharashtra the figure is a shameful and shocking 222.

In Adilabad under a government programme called ‘Polambari’, agricultural extension officers make a huge difference; in Yavatmal they are nearly invisible or somnolent. Adilabad farmers attend field demonstrations on plant care, crop rotation and minimising pesticide use. Farmers are encouraged to draw pictures of pests so identification skills improve. Pesticide is brushed on instead of being sprayed mindlessly. Its sale in Adilabad has fallen from 70 tonnes to 18 and profits have risen to a neat Rs35,000 an acre.

In Yavatmal pesticide merchants and money lenders stalk the fields sowing debt and death. The article will enable you to understand the phenomenon of farmer suicides.