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Bt cotton has helped small farmers in India – Report
04
Jul '12
Farmers cultivating Bt cotton on smaller fields in southern and central parts of India have witnessed a rise in their yields, and accordingly an increase in their profits as well as standard of living, compared to those who continued to grow conventional cotton, according to a recent study.
 
The study is based on information gathered from 533 farmers between 2002 and 2008, the duration that corresponds to the period during which most of the Indian farmers shifted from conventional to Bt cotton.
 
The analysis, published in the ‘Proceedings of the National Academy of the Sciences’, reveals that cotton yields grew by 24 percent when cultivated using Bt cotton seeds, compared to conventional cotton.
 
This, in turn, resulted in 50 percent increase in profits to farmers who switched to Bt cotton and during 2006-08, the families of such farmers spent 18 percent more compared to farming households sticking to growing conventional cotton, thus, showing a rise in the living standards.
 
The benefits of using Bt cotton has accrued solely from reduced pest damage, the authors of the report – Matin Qaim, Researcher (Agricultural Economics) at the Georg-August University of Göttingen and Jonas Kathege, his PhD student – claim. 
 
Prior to official approval for sale of Bt cotton in India in 2002, bollworm infestation could reduce the yields to 50 percent. But, since farmers started adopting Bt cotton technology, cotton yields have doubled and the use of insecticides have halved.
 
As of today, 97 percent of the area under cotton cultivation in India is planted with Bt cotton.
 

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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