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GM-free coalition seeks review of India's Bt cotton policy

Mar '12
Around a decade after the introduction of Bt cotton in Indian agriculture, the 'Coalition for a GM-free India' is seeking a thorough review of the policy.

Releasing a report - “10 years of Bt Cotton in India: false hype and failed promises”, the Coalition called for urgent discontinuation of the Bt cotton promotion policy.

According to the report, a probe into last 10 year's statistics repudiates the claims of a spectacular rise in production and substantial reduction in use of pesticides.

The report throws light on several new pests and disease attacks and also discusses pest resistance levels, requirement of advanced farm inputs, stagnation of yields, and the flurry of unfortunate incidences of farmer suicides in various cotton belts.

While speaking at a media meet, Convenor of the Coalition Sridhar Radhakrishnan slammed the Government and the regulators for accepting the biotechnology industry's promotional campaign, without critical review.

He said the Government, legislatures, Parliamentarians, media and farmer's organizations should consider this as an awakening call for undertaking a probe into the predicament of the cotton belt and critically re-review the decade-long performance of Bt cotton.

The Coalition suggested that the Government should discontinue encouraging use of Bt cotton and update farmers regarding its accompanying risks.

The Coalition has given a call for a nation-wide protest on March 26 and has called upon the Parliament to carry out a special discussion for a key policy shift away from Bt cotton.

The Coalition for a GM-Free India is a loose, informal network of scores of organizations and individuals from across India, campaigning and advocating to keep India GM-Free, and to shift India's farming towards a sustainable path.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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