Palakkad: A debt-ridden farmer allegedly committed suicide here on Monday, taking the number of peasants reported to have killed themselves under distress in Kerala to six in the past one month.
Chandran (55), a marginal farmer who subsisted on rice cultivation and cow rearing, consumed poison at Peruvambu area as he had been under debt, police said.
He had borrowed money from various sources to keep up his small scale cultivation and dairy farming, they said.
According to his neighbours, Chandran had sold a piece of land recently to repay part of his loans, police said.
Four farmers in Wayanad district and one in Kottayam reportedly committed suicide under similar circumstances in the past one month.
Taking a serious note of the incidents, the state government had suspended revenue recovery proceedings on farm loans in Wayanad and sent a senior bureaucrat to the district
to study the case.
The report prepared by the official is expected to be considered by the cabinet this week, officials said.
Farmers in Wayanad have claimed a steep fall in prices of produce like ginger and crop loss due to climate change and pest affliction as major reasons for the deepening crisis in the farm sector.
Farmers unions pointed out that most of those in distress conditions were marginal farmers, many of whom have borrowed money from private lenders to rear crops on small patches owned by them or in leased plots.