Recent studies on the farmers suicides have pointed to the dependence of armers on pesticide dealers and the increasing expenditure on irrigation, they have assumed these as inevitable for the crop. The suicides point to a need for a cotton crop that would inimise the risk to the farmer and ensure sustainability for both the grower and the soil. There is herefore a need to reopen the debate between American and ‘desi’ varieties of cotton in the light of the well-known sturdy and pest resistant nature of the desi varieties. The agricultural establishment today grudgingly accepts the sturdiness of indigenous varieties, as is evident from the recent move to grow traditional varieties along the Indo-Pak border to prevent pests from ntering India. This action however falls short of questioning the farming practices within India, where where hybrid and American varieties dominate. This paper looks at the history of cotton farming in India to examine the reasons for the neglect of desi varieties of cotton and thereby attempts to challenge its ‘inferior’ status.Suicide Deaths and Quality of Indian Cotton
Suicide Deaths and Quality of Indian Cotton
by C. Shambu Prasad, Economic & Political Weekly, 30 January, 1999