on my mind : the legend of the green revolution

drought

About 40 years ago in response to mass famine India began pressuring it’s farmers to stop growing their traditional seasonal mix of crops in favor of high yield wheat, rice, and cotton crops. The farmers were promised that recent advances with new high yielding seeds would spur bumper crops and huge economic growth.

The result? Famine in India was a much smaller problem for a while. But as it turns out the seeds needed way more water, and because of this farmers were forced to dig new wells, digging deeper and deeper, until they were extracting water from aquifers at a much greater pace than it could be replaced by natural rainfall.

400px-aquifer_ensvg

The system worked well for a while, but 40 years later farmers are stretched thin, “like butter scraped over too much bread”. However, now the crops suck nutrients from the soil at a much more rapid pace than can be replenished naturally, the result is that farmers are forced to use three times the amount of fertilizer as before to make their crops grow. AND Because they have to keep digging deeper and deeper to get water, more expensive drills and equipment are required to get to the water. And if anyone knows how aquifers work, when you start extracting the fossil water (stuff in the bottom half of the diagram above (the confined aquifer)), you are fucked. Remember there will be blood? “I DRINK UP ALL YOUR MILKSHAKE. As population continues to increase, this problem is certainly only going to get worse.

i-drink-your-milkshake1

So now we have thirsty farmers who’s backs are breaking under crippling debt. (some places in india now rely on cargo trucks to ship in fresh drinking water from as far as 200 miles away EACH DAY) Meanwhile THIS was reported in the Independent, but i haven’t seen it on any of the major news networks

1500 farmers in India commit mass suicide.

Over 1,500 farmers in an Indian state committed suicide after being driven to debt by crop failure, it was reported today.

The agricultural state of Chattisgarh was hit by falling water levels.

“The water level has gone down below 250 feet here. It used to be at 40 feet a few years ago,” Shatrughan Sahu, a villager in one of the districts, told Down To Earth magazine

“Most of the farmers here are indebted and only God can save the ones who do not have a bore well.”

Mr Sahu lives in a district that recorded 206 farmer suicides last year. Police records for the district add that many deaths occur due to debt and economic distress.

In another village nearby, Beturam Sahu, who owned two acres of land was among those who committed suicide. His crop is yet to be harvested, but his son Lakhnu left to take up a job as a manual labourer.

His family must repay a debt of £400 and the crop this year is poor.

“The crop is so bad this year that we will not even be able to save any seeds,” said Lakhnu’s friend Santosh. “There were no rains at all.”

“That’s why Lakhnu left even before harvesting the crop. There is nothing left to harvest in his land this time. He is worried how he will repay these loans.”

Bharatendu Prakash, from the Organic Farming Association of India, told the Press Association: “Farmers’ suicides are increasing due to a vicious circle created by money lenders. They lure farmers to take money but when the crops fail, they are left with no option other than death.”

Mr Prakash added that the government ought to take up the cause of the poor farmers just as they fight for a strong economy.

“Development should be for all. The government blames us for being against development. Forest area is depleting and dams are constructed without proper planning.

All this contributes to dipping water levels. Farmers should be taken into consideration when planning policies,” he said.

In other news: The current leading hollywood anti semite and top grossing religious exploiter MEL GIBSON is getting a divorce. Sources close to the matter report that Mel’s wife is likely to walk away with $500,000,000. Sources also report that Mel made $600,000,000 off the passion of the christ alone.

mel-gibson-beard_1296620c

i think the farmers in india might have the right idea. just kidding. but seriously…. sigh.

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