September 26, 2020

After a three year delay, data of farm deaths in India is out. As per India’s Crime records bureau – the NCRB – 11,379 farmers and agricultural labourers killed themselves. This numbers to 948 suicides per month or 31 farm-related suicides per day.

The data is a clear indication of the crisis in Indian agriculture. Farmers in India are overly dependent on rainfall which can be erratic. Lack of easy credit to agriculture and high dependence on money lenders has pushed many farmers to the brink. Farm suicides are highest in Maharashtra and Karnataka.

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  • These number in isolation don’t mean anything to the reader (except feeling like a big incomprehensible number). Why don’t you provide some context to the story?
    – Right metric: Instead of number of suicides, it would be better to use suicide rate (suicide per 1L population) as a metric.
    – Global context: how does India’s farmer suicide rate compare to other countries like the US, UK, Australia, China etc
    – Historical context: how has farmer suicide rate in India changed over the last 10 years?

    A simple line graph would show you that farmer suicide rates in India have been steadily falling over the last decade, falling as sharply as ~10% in 2016 (the year in question).

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