Tag Archives: Bt cotton

India Going the Biotech Way

The regulatory authority for biotechnology crops in India, Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) has stated that India has witnessed an increase in the area under plantation with GM insect protected cotton from 1.2 million hectares to 3.2 million hectares in 2005. This variety of cotton has a protein from Bacillus thuringiensis which imparts protection to cotton plants from specific lepidopteron insect pests. Farmers in India were earlier facing losses due to insect pests and up till the year 2002 chemical control was considered to be the only option for controlling the pests. This is what one of the Indian farmer Eknath Shivram Pandit had to say abut GM cotton: It is cost-effective. We have to spray just 2 or 3 times. But with the other seeds, the worms would attack, and we had to spray at least 15 to 20 times.

Bt cottonseeds being opposed by state government in India

It has been reported that Andhra government is looking for a ban to be imposed on Bt cottonseeds since cattle deaths were reported after they grazed on the leftover Bt cotton fields. As a result a fact finding team has been sent by the Genetic Engineering Approval Committed to the affected areas in order investigate it. Areas of Khammam, Adilabad and Warangal have been affected by it. A warning has been already sent to the local people asking them to keep away their herd from these grazing grounds. Even the commissioner of agriculture is being asked not to sell BT cottonseeds in the coming season. Bt cotton had been approved for commercial cultivation after bio safety studies had been undertaken but it seems the studies were not conducted properly and as a result cattle has been dying after consuming Bt cotton leaves. This incident will surely leave a bitter taste for the farmers and it may happen that Bt cotton may never find a place in the Indian fields. Via bharattextile