Thousands of farmers are marching to India’s Parliament demanding higher prices for their produce and a government waiver on their farm loans to alleviate hardships.
Waving red, yellow and green flags and banners representing farmers’ organizations, the protesters also demanded diesel and fertilizers at lower prices and blamed the Hindu nationalist government for hardships caused by years of declining earnings in the agriculture sector.
Rain-dependent agriculture employs more than half of India’s 1.3 billion people, but shrinking earnings mean it now accounts for only 15 percent of India’s economy.
Failed harvests force poor farmers to borrow money at high interest rates to buy seeds, fertilizers and food for their cattle. They often mortgage their land and, as debts mount, some are driven to suicide.