Pesticides meant to save cotton crop ends up claiming farmers lives

Last Modified: Sat Dec 09 2017 17:58:00 GMT+0530 (India Standard Time)
  • 23
    Number of farmers and farm workers that have died due to pesticide poisoning since Jul 2017 in the cotton belt of Maharashtra’s Yavatmal district. A deadly cocktail of improper usage, new sprayers, absent regulation, government apathy, and farmers’ desperation continues to claim lives.
  • 6 ft
    Unusual length to which the Bt Cotton plants - considered pest-resistant- have grown this year, attracting pests. While spraying pesticides above their head, farm workers inhaled some pesticide particles. The unusually humid conditions and the high density of cotton crop also made farmers vulnerable to chemical contact while spraying pesticides.
  • 25
    Number of farmers who temporarily lost their sight.
  • 1,000
    + farmers have been hospitalized. Some of the cases were so severe that patients had to be tied to the hospital bed because of convulsions.
  • Rs. 2 lakh
    compensation announced by the state govt. to the families of the deceased. The government has also constituted a seven-member Special Investigation Team to inquire into the deaths.
  • 5
    Krishi Kendra owners have been booked by the district administration for selling unauthorized pesticides.
  • 10 acres per day
    Pesticide spraying capacity of power pumps that farmers have started to use as against normal sprayers which spray up to two acres a day. For normal sprayers, farmers needs to fill in the tank every two hours so they gets a break, but with power pumps, they can spray in one go. The new kind of pump sprayers have fine holes and spray like mist that easily envelopes the person’s body.