Punjabi farmers killing selves

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In India, farmers are killing themselves by swallowing the same pesticides used to protect their fields, but not before greedy global agribusiness kills their crops, their land, and their hopes.

In a speech for the BBC’s REITH LECTURES 2000, sustainable-development advocate Vandana Shiva relates the utter destruction she saw in the country’s Punjab region, which was once a richly productive farming region.

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Shiva says global agribusiness goaded Punjab farmers into abandoning their traditional crops for genetically engineered hybrid cotton — “white gold” which would make the peasant farmers rich. Instead, the farmers are now beholden to the company to get seeds at ever higher prices to replant crops.

Worse, the GE cotton is especially prone to disease and pests, and the volume of pesticides farmers must use have wiped out local pollinating insects like butterflies and bees. Now, without the insects, other crops are dying.

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In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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