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India: The suicidal potato economy of West Bengal

The suicidal potato economy of West BengalLast December, the weather conditions were apt, a moderately cool temperature with adequate dew, for a good potato cultivation in West Bengal. Yet, more than 20 potato farmers, and still counting, have committed suicide in the state so far. Ironically, it is nothing new for a state that takes pride in its pre-eminent performance in agriculture. Sample this: In December 2010, West Bengal had a record potato production. Starting March 2011, the potato market started falling, finally crashing to unprecedented low levels. By November 2011, already 32 farmers had committed suicide. In December 2011, as the new crop starting coming, after the old crop was either subject to distress sale or destruction, prices stabilized. More

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