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Cotton farmers chose double-gene Bt hybrid
26
Jul '10
Indian cotton farmers are rapidly accepting the technology to produce Bt variety of cotton. This year alone, of the overall projected cotton area of 26-26.5 million acres, around 22.5 million acres is likely to be sown under Bt hybrids or varietals.

In 2002, the latter figure stood at merely 72,000 acres, but the increased figure now displays the fastest rate of diffusion for any technology, following that of mobile phones.

However, this is just one half of the story. Equally good and not so known to all is the way farmers have stepped up, from the first-generation 'single-gene' Bt variety to more advanced 'double-gene' aspect or side of the same technology.

Until 2005, Bt cotton hybrid, which was cultivated in the nation mainly included the US life sciences major Monsanto's proprietary Bollgard-I (BG-I) technology. But since 2006, farmers commenced planting seeds, again based on Monsanto's second-generation Bollgard-II (BG-II) gene technology.

Apparently, the new Bt technology offers improved protection against three bollworm insect pests (owing to better protein expression from the action of dual genes), and also controls beet and fall armyworms.

In 2006, 8.462 million acres of land was sowed under BG-I Bt hybrid, whereas only 2.35 lakh acres of land was sowed under the BG-II hybrid.

Although, last year, BG-II coverage, at 11.42 million acres of land, surpassed the 7.82 million acres of land of BG-I Bt variety; this year, it is estimated that BG-II sowing might soar even high to about 16 million acres, while a fall for BG-I will be recorded at 5 million acres of land.

Fibre2Fashion News Desk - India

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