The dark side of basmati: farmers suffer strikingly more common on cancer

Renovators of basmati rice in the Indian region of Punjab use a lot of pesticides to their income to make it larger. That, however, is not without consequences, now appears to be a web documentary: the number of cancer cases is much higher than in the rest of the country.


Pesticides found their way to the Indian basmativelden in the sixties of the last century, when the farmers increasingly had to start producing to the mouths in their families to feed. The harvesting of names in a manner that is not only a famine was avoided, but that there is also more than enough to export. Today, 80% of the total production destined for Europe and the Middle East.


“Basmati growing is the end of the Punjab. The rice, continue to export, is playing with the future of the next generations.”

Farmer Gurbhej Singh talks to the creator of the web documentary The Price of Basmati (which under this article can see how enthusiastic he and his colleagues in the early days were about the pesticides. “This took the harvest up to thirty to forty percent.” Even though he noticed an immediate impact on his health: “some drugs cause rashes, sore knees or itchy eyes, other respiratory problems and flauwtes.” The fact that he and many other farmers in the region of the operating instructions on the bottles don’t read (which is often written in Hindi, while they only Punjabi speaking), there may be something to do with it. He and his colleagues respect the recommended doses is often not – the more they use, the higher the yield – and do not wear protective clothing or a mask when they use the products.

Today suffers Singh of breast cancer. He is not the only one in the region. In 2015 are 90 people in 100,000 in the Punjab cancer patient in India, there are only 80 in 100,000.

Just the beginning?

For a direct connection to be made between the frequent use of pesticides and the higher number of cases of cancer, there is still a large-scale research is needed. There are a lot of factors which can cause cancer, such as diets, or smoking habits. Still suspect a lot of people in the region that is the cause in the contaminated groundwater, which they drink, and them wash.

The Indian arts and deputy vice-chancellor of the Adesh university, Gurpreet Singh also expresses his fear that the end not yet in sight, because the cancer usually twenty, à thirty years to develop. “Since the sixties and seventies, to use farmers frequently toxic substances in the country since the nineties of the previous century in the Punjab cancer. I have a feeling that we are only at the beginning of the problems.”

The local population sees the future is also bleak. Or, as it is in this report (put the subtitles on) sounds: “Basmati growing is the end of the Punjab. Basmati continue to export, is playing with the future of the next generations.”

The Price of Basmati was created as a result of an article in the February issue of National Geographic Magazine. Here, you can view an interactive version of the documentary.

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