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Bollgard II covers 70% of India's cotton acreage
11
Nov '11
Around 70 percent, or around 8.4 million hectares, of India's current year's total cotton cultivation acreage of 11.8 million hectares is under Bollgard II cotton, according to a Mahyco official.

Speaking at a plenary session of the fifth World Cotton Research Conference in Mumbai, Mahyco India Ltd. Managing Director, Mr. R Barwale, said Bollgard II was introduced in India in 2006, when cultivation of Bollgard I was at its heights and was being cultivated on around 5.1 million hectares of land.

Bollgard II, an advance version of Bollgard I, is resistant against pests like heliothis and spodoptera. At the time of introduction, the variety was cultivated on 50,000 hectares, Mr. Barwale added.

The Mahyco official further said that Bt cotton is a variety that met most rapid technology adaption in India, and it has helped in reduction of the use of pesticides in the country by 10,391 tons.

However, challenges like cutting labour costs, introduction of mechanization and countering the issue of sucking pests still impede efficient cotton cultivation in the country, he stated.

On the sidelines of the Conference, Mr. Barwale said his firm is ready to introduce Roundup Ready Flex cotton which would aid the cotton cultivators to beat the problem of weeds.

The variety, he said, has gone through multiple trials at different locations, but the Genetical Engineering Appraisal Committee has asked to repeat the trials this year also, he added.

Some cotton industry experts participating in the Conference expressed concerns over increasing use of Bt cotton, as the variety now covers around 93 percent of the total cotton cultivation acreage in India.

Dr. CD Mayee, President of Indian Society for Cotton Improvement and Chairman of the National Organising Committee of the conference, said such dominance may result in exclusion or disappearance of old and conventional varieties, and added that Bt cotton cannot be an answer to all the issues linked with cotton production.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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