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Bt-cotton acreage likely to increase annual production
19
Feb '08
According to a survey made by a global research body, in the next 2-3 years, 80 percent of India's total land under cultivation is likely to grow genetically modified cotton fibre.

The country, which produced about 28 million bales of cotton last year, is hopeful that in the year to come, it will record an output of 31 million bales as farmers have been planting more transgenic seeds.

In 2007, the area under Bt (bacillus thuringiensis) cotton went up to 6.2 million hectares from 3.2 million hectares of the year before.

The use of Bt cotton in 2002, led to widespread protest from social rights activists who believed that genetically modified crops are hazardous to health, spoil soil texture and have a negative impact on environment. However, with an increasing population and a relative increase in consumption, genetically engineered cultivation seems like the only viable option for farmers.

Indian farmers have found that Bt cotton has provided consistent yield and fiber quality. While, it is only produced in hybrid varieties in India, there is a movement to place the technology in conventional varieties as well.

In 2007, area under bio-engineered crops rose to 114.3 million hectares in 23 countries, which marked a rise of 12 percent or 12.3 million hectares from 2006.

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