A young couple of farmers we met on the road to the village of Chalegowdan. Srinivas (35) ploughs the family land plot before planting sugarcane in the village of Hulivana. “I am scared of taking loans”, explained his brother Prasana while we watched the work, “so we don't have any debt yet. We have a well, without it we wouldn't be here, but water is always scarce so I might have to borrow one lakh (100,000 rupees, about 1,300 euros) to dig another well.” Kamalamma (55), a day labourer, harvests sugarcane in the village of Madhar Halli. She is paid 2 rupees (about 0.02 euros) per bundle of sugarcane, and in a day manages to earn 200 rupees. “But at least we always take some money home. The farmer can make much more, but he can also loose everything if the crop fails.” A farmer's house near the village of Chikkamandhgere. Sugarcane ready to be harvested in the fields of Karadakere. An irrigation channel from the Krishna Sagara dam runs dry on a hot day in July, the middle of the rain season. The Mandya district is supposed to be irrigated from the dam but as the monsoon becomes unreliable and the rains diminish every year, there simply isn't enough water to irrigate all the farmed areas. A jaggery factory in Hulivana. Jaggery is a traditional product of sugarcane, made boiling the sugarcane juice until in turns into a sweet, concentrated paste that is used to produce many Indian delicacies or is exported abroad. Basvegowda (49), a sugarcane farmer from the village of Hanmanth Nagar. His debts amount to 1 lakh rupees (1,400 euros). Shivanna was the husband of Sushma (32, holding their one year old daughter) and the son of Savithriamma (65, left) and Kempegowda (72, right). After his sugarcane field dried up, his debts reached 6 lakhs rupees (about 8,000 euros) and he killed himself by drinking poison. Shivanna (35), in a picture kept by his mother Savithriamma. “He never touched any alcohol”, she remembers, “yet that day he bought some at a shop. He probably needed it to do what he was planning to do.” A day labourer harvesting sugarcane in the village of Madhar Halli. Shivalinga Gowda (50) shows us a box of insecticide for sugarcane like the one his 23 years old son Madhu consumed to kill himself after he had accumulated large debts while managing the family farm in the village of Arechakanahalli. Palm trees over the field on which Madhu killed himself. The field was left fallow at the time, as there was no water to grow sugarcane. Kempegowda (72) with the family's buffalo cow, whose milk provides the only revenue of the family after his son Shivanna committed suicide. Shivanna was the sole breadwinner in a family with seven dependants. Planting sugarcane in Madhar Halli. Loading harvested sugarcane near Chikkamandhgere. Rathnamma (38). Last November, her 45 years old husband Mariappa killed himself after his debts had accumulated to 7 lakhs rupees (more than 9,000 euros). “I did not know anything about it”, she says, “he kept everything to himself.” Images of gods left under a tree in a countryside shrine in Karadakere. The “My Sugar” factory in Mandya. Sugar factories are owned by some of the most important businessmen in the state, and are the largest buyers of sugarcane. They also have a habit of taking up to a year to pay farmers. S.B Hanumantha Gowda (50), a sugarcane farmer from the village of Karadakere. He has no debts. Fields of sugarcane somewhere near the village of Chalegowdan.