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Unraveling Farmer Suicides in IndiaEgoism and Masculinity in Peasant Life$
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Nilotpal Kumar

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780199466856

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199466856.001.0001

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Ecology, Risk, and Cash Crop Cultivation

Ecology, Risk, and Cash Crop Cultivation

Agrarian Change in NRP

(p.36) 2 Ecology, Risk, and Cash Crop Cultivation
Unraveling Farmer Suicides in India

Nilotpal Kumar

Oxford University Press

This chapter introduces Anantapur and its semi-arid ecology that present inherent risks for cultivation in the district. Whilst the landholding pattern in the district has tended to move towards an egalitarian miniaturization, access to groundwater seems to have grown more iniquitous. Farmers across classes in the local area have been attempting to switch over from cultivating groundnut under rain-fed conditions alongside livestock rearing to horticulture by extracting groundwater, colonizing poor quality landholdings, and at times, by withdrawing from livestock rearing. This ‘restructuring’ of production has led to iniquitous and non-sustainable mining of groundwater. A detailed analysis of groundnut cultivation is presented to show that its cultivation makes small and marginal farm reproduction non-viable at a Chayanovian threshold level, let alone the level of expanded reproduction desired by local farmers. This explains the enormous risk that farmers take to switch to horticulture.

Keywords:   landholding pattern, risk, distress, groundwater, borewells, restructuring, capitalistic farming, risk-aversion, groundnut

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