Saturday, March 26, 2005

Fighting plants hurts farmers

Police are cracking down in southern India on opium poppy farmers and have conducted numerous raids in last couple of months. The farmers, pleading ignorance of the law are living in a state of terror. It seems plausible they wouldn't know since it appears the poppy farming has only recently become widespread and they're reportedly a simple people farming individually on only small plots of land. Agriculture Minister Srinivas Gowda agrees. He says farmers are being exploited by drug dealers.

Nonetheless the government is taking a hard line approach to enforcement but in an effort to appease the farmers has given them until the end of the month to surrender their crops. However, "concerned over the unrest the raids have generated among farmers, a senior leader of the socialist Janata Dal Secular party, HD Kumaraswamy, has called for a halt to the crackdown. 'The farmers are naïve and have been growing poppies as any other crop,' he says."

That's really the point and what irritates me the most about the eradication strategy of the prohibition. The farmers no doubt are depending on the money from the crop to make their living - they need the small amount they will get paid just to keep the farm going.

The buyers who process the plants are the ones who make the obscene profits but the enforcers go after the flower growers instead, which is a whole easier but does nothing to dent the supply. There are always ten other destitute souls who will take the chance in order to put food on the table and it leaves the busted farmer in an even more desperate state of poverty.

The only consolation in this story is that at least they're eradicating by hand instead of bombing them with criminal amounts of herbicides.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home