Faulty Soybean seed: 39 y.o farmer dies by suicide in Parbhani, beed farmer attempts self immolation

Thousands of hectares of Soybean crop has failed due to faulty seeds.

Credit : Indie Journal

Parbhani: A young farmer Vishnu Shinde (39), from Mardasgaon (Pathri taluka) in Parbhani district, died by suicide after hanging himself on Friday night (June 26) because the entire three acres of soybean he sowed did not germinate due to poor quality seeds.

In the Beed district, a farmer in Fakrabad attempted suicide by pouring kerosene on his body in front of an agricultural shop as soybean seeds were not grown at Nandur Ghat.

There have been several incidents in the past where seed companies have sacrificed quality for the sake of profit. Farmers suffered huge losses due to non-inclusion of cry protein, which is resistant to pink bollworm larvae, in Bollgard cotton seeds. The Shivsena was also a partner in power at the time when the state government provided Rs 4,333 crore from the National Disaster Fund to rescue Monsanto, a powerful multinational company. However, the Nagpur High Court had also ordered the seed companies to pay hundreds of crores of rupees in fines and compensation.

The Seed Act (1966) is a matter under the purview of the Central Government. It is the job of the State Government to regulate. It is a fact that the WTO is constantly under pressure from the WTO to weaken the provisions for compensation to farmers in the face of changing technology.

Shinde asked in his suicide note, why is there tampering with seeds? Why alcohol is not adulterated? before he died.  He leaves behind his wife, son Aditya (15 years) and Deepak (10 years) who are constantly ill.



There are cases of soybean crop not growing even though lakhs of farmers in Maharashtra have sown such 'certified' seeds. The agriculture department has also started a temporary panchnama on the complaint. However, the government has not issued any compensation order.

Rajan Kshirsagar, a state executive member of the Communist Party of India, said that considering the seriousness of the seed case, the Maharashtra government should file a case of culpable homicide against the Maharashtra Seed Certification Authority and the seed producer in the case of Vishnu Shinde's suicide.  "Vishnu Shinde's family should be compensated at least Rs 15 lakh by the government and the seed company. Farmers in Maharashtra who have bought seeds which have not germinated in case of soybean seeds have a risk amount of Rs. 42,000 per acre in case of crop insurance," Kshirsagar said, also demanding that the seed companies and the government should compensate the farmers.

Farmer Suresh Ikhe (Kanhegaon, Dist. Parbhani) said that the company's seeds turned out to be inferior. "Representatives of that company should go to the farmers' fields and do a panchnama with the team of the agriculture department.  But, the company has ordered its representatives not to go to the field. Representatives of the insurance company did not come to the farm even after several requests. He closed his office in the taluka and fled. That work had to be done by the Department of Agriculture." 

He also adds, "Will the for-profit companies make money and will their work be done by government employees? Has the agriculture department of the government been set up to do the work of private companies? The government needs to control these companies."

Maharashtra State Director of Agriculture (Quality Control) Vijay Ghawate said that most of the complaints about non-germinating soybean seeds in the state have come from Marathwada. "Apart from this, complaints have also been received from Vidarbha. The appointed taluka level committees are inspecting. He is accompanied by a colleague from each company. The total loss figures will come and we will provide compensation to the farmers through their insurance.  At the same time, the area under soybean cultivation in the state will also be calculated. We are filing a criminal case against the companies."

An employee of the Maharashtra Seed Certification Authority said on condition of anonymity, that seed plots are given to farmers every year by a private company.  "According to the ruling, company officials have to visit the seed plot at least three times. However, this is not possible due to the available resources and reluctant staff. In the last 2-3 years, some companies had bought soybean seeds from taluka level 'Adats'. It was sold by packing. Last year rainfall was higher during the soybean harvest. Only 25 to 30 percent of the seeds were harvested. That must have led to the distribution of bogus seeds.