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Climate Change Linked to 59,300 Farmer Suicides in India: Study

In total, 59,300 farmer or agricultural suicides over the past three decades can be linked to global warming.

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1 min read
An Indian farmer looks skyward as he sits in his field with wheat crop that was damaged in unseasonal rains and hailstorm at Darbeeji village, in the western Indian state of Rajasthan. 
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A new study conducted by the University of California, Berkeley, finds that the rampant cases of farmer suicides in India may be closely linked to climate change and increasing temperatures.

According to these findings, only a 1 Celsius increase on an average day during peak growing season, could be linked to 67 suicides. In total, 59,300 farmers or agricultural suicides over the past three decades can be linked to global warming, The Guardian cites numbers from the report, which was published in the journal PNAS on Monday.

Interestingly, temperature increase during off-season or non-growing season had no significant impact on the rate of suicides. The report also suggests that even the slightest increase in rainfall each year led to a seven percent drop in the suicide rate.

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Since 1995, over 3,00,000 farmers and farm workers have committed suicide over drought and crop failure, the report says.

Last year was one of the worst-drought hit years for India owing to El Nino – a warming of the eastern Pacific Ocean that leads to dry spells in South Asia. The situation was so dire in Maharashtra that the government sent a “water train” of tankers carrying half a million liters (132,000 gallons) to the worst-hit district of Latur.

But the government has also been blamed for tardiness in releasing public welfare schemes. Already this year, Tamil Nadu farmers have charged to Jantar Mantar several times and protested fellow farmers' suicides. They brought with them skulls and bones, allegedly of the farmers, who had ended their lives in despair.

Maharashtra, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh have now sanctioned loan waivers on state expense to reduce the burden on farmers.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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