In the rich farmlands of
Those statistics are staggering, but the personal stories are worse. For example, after an unexpected, pounding rain washed away his already struggling cotton crop, 23-year-old Ravinder Kisan Piwar, who had just become engaged to be married, killed himself by swallowing the pesticides he had purchased to protect his field. Prahalad Kisan Rathod hung himself on a tree outside his house after he experienced four years of consistent crop failure and mounting debts for seed, fertilizer, and basic foods. Sixty-year-old Punaji Ramaji Jhade, was the first and still the oldest in his village to kill himself, and it was also because he could no longer pay anything to his creditors. He left his home for his fields one morning saying goodbye to his wife and children, and when he was out in his field alone, he quietly fell onto his pitch fork and onto the land that had stubbornly refused his efforts to grow cotton. In deeply traditional, honor and shame, cultures, when a man is no longer able to fulfill his designated role in society, then it is the just and moral thing to do to take his own life. It is grizzly, awful, and painful, but when faced with a choice between endless despair or honor, the honorable route increasingly wins.
Why should Christians in the
There are many causes for their struggles. There has, for example, been a steadily decreasing amount of rain in most of the agricultural regions of
But another reason is the US government’s policy of paying enormous amounts of money to a handful of farmers (mainly wealthy, mainly corporate), encouraging them to over-produce commodities like cotton, rice, and corn, and then the US dumps the excess on the international market at prices no poor farmer in India, Africa or Latin America can match. By under-selling farmers all over the world we have become a major contributor to the impoverishment of millions of innocent people. The result is that the global price for cotton has been going steadily down for over a decade, while the amount we pay to our farmers —to keep them producing—has been going up.
The US Farm Bill that covers those subsidies is coming up for revision this year for the first time in several years. You can influence its out come and help feed hungry families in
You’ll feel better for having done it, it and possibly a family on the other side of the planet may eat better soon because of it.