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250,000 farmers commit suicide in India – largest wave of suicides in history

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indian-farmersMORE than 250,000 farmers have killed themselves in India, many by drinking pesticide, because of bad debts.

The staggering number – the largest recorded wave of suicides in history – has taken place in just 16 years and amounts to almost 16,000-per-year.

The suicides rate is so dramatic it threatens India's stability and future development, according to campaigners.

Kishan Dewani, a campaigner based in Maharashtra state in central India, says cotton farmers have been particularly badly affected.

He claimed the farmers have taken on large debts to buy hybrid seeds, which are often unsuited to the harsh and temperamental Indian climate and added: “They are sold these modern seeds and modern chemicals and have to take on large debts to buy them.

“The problem is they need a lot of water which is in short supply and then when the crop is poor and they have to repay the money lenders, they despair and commit suicide.”

There is also a feeling that India's economic revolution is centred on the big cities – leaving the countryside as an economic backwater.

Vandana Moohorle is now bringing up her children alone after her husband killed himself by drinking pesticide.

"He was always tense" she said. "He had borrowed a lot of money for pesticides and fertilizers and now I will have to pay back his debts. Debt is the reason for all the suicides around here and it's the people in charge who are responsible for it."

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