Page last updated at 06:10 GMT, Monday, 7 April 2008 07:10 UK

More India farmers commit suicide

India farmers
Thousands of farmers commit suicide in India every year

Officials in the western Indian state of Maharashtra say nine farmers have committed suicide over the past week.

Reports said the farmers from the Vidarbha region killed themselves because they could not repay debts.

Farm activists say despite recent government aid packages, over 200 farmers have committed suicide in the region since January.

At least 10,000 debt-ridden farmers have committed suicide in India each year over the last decade.

Drought, a fall in crop prices and an increase in the cost of cultivation are cited as reasons for the farmers' plight.

Many farmers have been forced to take out loans to buy necessary supplies, but these have left them heavily in debt.

Some turn to moneylenders, who charge much higher rates of interest.

The government recently announced a $15bn waiver of farmer loans.

But correspondents say the waiver may not help a large number of farmers who have taken loans from private lenders.

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