On Wikipedia it states:
A 2012 survey in rural Vidarbha (Maharashtra – the area where we are working on Water Harvesting) …. found the reasons in order of importance behind farmer suicides were – debt, alcohol addiction, environment, low produce prices, stress and family responsibilities, apathy, poor irrigation, increased cost of cultivation, private money lenders, use of chemical fertilizers and crop failure. … In a different study in the same region in 2006, indebtedness (87%) and deterioration in the economic status (74%) were found to be major risk factors for suicide.
This is an interesting way of looking at things.. but it does not go deep enough.
How can we say alcohol is the cause? Or debt is the cause?
We have to look below this..and ask why is a farmer drinking himself into the desperation that stands behind taking his own life? Why does the farmer find himself so deeply in debt that he sees no other way out?
If we are not seeing the true cause of the problem – we cannot do any real effective work to create change. We must look below the reason stated above.
In our research we have come to believe that water is the absolute key. If the farmer and the villager has access to a good all year round water supply – if the wells do not run dry, if the village Nala (or stream) is encouraged to flow – then there is no need to borrow money, there is no need to escape into an alcoholic haze, and the family life will be more harmonious, and enthusiasm for living will return.
That’s a major reason why we are doing this work.. for if we can assist in underground storage of water – and raise the water table in the village and surrounding farms.. all the above ’causes’ can disappear and the farmers will again find value and meaning in their lives and their crops can flourish.
No more will they need to swallow the pesticide that they have been using on their land – but can find a quality of life that will sustain their families and themselves and return their village to a community where they can enjoy and live a full life.
We plan to help make farmer suicide to become a thing of the past – first in Tizade and then beyond to many more villages.