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Cotton farmers hunt for a solution to pests
12
Jan '08
By 2009, Pakistan can well expect the launch of a genetically modified cottonseed with in-built resistance against pests and capacity to help increase production of the crop.

This Bt cotton seed is expected to extensively increase per acre production of cotton that will in turn contribute nearly 10 percent of the Gross Domestic Product and earn 55 percent of the country's total foreign exchange earnings.

This meticulously invented Bt cotton seed has an inherent characteristic to destroy intestinal walls of pests and kills it as soon as it comes in contact.

While discussing the major causes behind low acreage production, it was revealed that pests can literally devastate yield per acre forcing farmers to invest heavily on fertilizers and other preventive measures.

However, with BT cotton to be made more accessible to farmers, it is hoped that the problem of pests will be effectively dealt with.

Bt cotton is being developed and genetically modified by Pakistani scientists according to the climatic conditions of the country and the local companies could market the same by next year.

There are of course scientists opposing Bt cotton on grounds that with constant use pests could develop a resistance against the seed. However, it will be ensured by experts in the field that even after the seeds are marketed for widespread use, the growth will be closely scrutinized and if any such resistance is found, the seeds would be modified even further.

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