Farmer suicides rising in non-GMO France, mirroring India’s crisis

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March 16, 2016, Sauvagny, Allier, France. Wilma Van Der Ploeg lost her husband from a hart attack while he was working in the field. He worked himself to death.

[Anti-GMO activists, led by Indian philosopher Vandana Shiva [read GLP profile here], have endlessly repeated the claim that the introduction of GMOs in India has led to a sharp and enduring rise in farmer suicides. It’s the central argument in her emotional appeal to Indian workers to lobby the government to block support for crop biotechnology. It is not just misleading–it is factually wrong. Farmer suicides have not increased since the introduction of insect resistant Bt cotton, which has been a huge success, as more than 90% of farmers now grow it. [read GLP GMO FAQ on the issue here] And as this report from France underscores, farmer suicides is a worldwide epidemic–spurred not by biotechnology but by falling food prices. France’s suicide rate, like that of many countries, mirrors or exceeds the rate in India.]

…[T]he French dairy crisis weighs heavily on SPACE attendees and exhibitors. … [T]he end of the milk quota last year greatly impacted French dairy producers, forcing many farmers to temporarily halt production or go out of business permanently.

…Jérôme Pavie from the French Institut de l’Élevage (Livestock Institute), notes that the cost of production for 1 ton of milk is (US$337); however, the market value has hovered around (US$244).

“Even the most efficient dairy farmers can only hope to break even,” Pavie said.

. . . .

According to Christiane Lambert, senior vice president of the National Federation of Farmers’ Unions (FNSEA), farmer suicides are on the rise. “On average, one French farmer commits suicide every two days,” said Lambert said.

Lambert suggests multiple factors have contributed to this trend including isolation, negative social media, and exhaustion from the nature of the work, but recent influx of deaths has broadened awareness.

“[FNSEA] is reaching out to rural farmers with site visits to try to combat the hopelessness,” she says.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis. Read full, original post: French dairy woes loom over 30th edition of SPACE

  • morphd

    “…farmer suicides is a worldwide epidemic–spurred not by biotechnology but by falling food prices.”

    Actually with biotechnology making farmers more productive, the resulting oversupply of food does tend to lower prices – so biotechnology could be blamed, at least indirectly, for farmer suicides. We need to transition to organic as soon as possible so that food supplies become tight, prices remain high and sporadic shortages and food riots help make today’s abundance and contrived issues “the good old days.”