The success story of Bt cotton in India over the last decade is more of a hype than reality, according to the Southern Action on Genetic Engineering (SAGE), an umbrella organization of intellectuals and non-governmental organizations that oppose introduction of genetic engineering in agriculture.
In 2009-10, when 85 percent of India's cotton area was under Bt cotton cultivation, the yield was 474 kg of lint a hectare, which was just 4kg more than the yield in 2004-05, when only 5.70 percent of the total cotton area was under Bt cotton, Mr. PV Satheesh, National Convenor of SAGE, said.
For the 4 kg increase in yield, farmers had to incur 50 percent more expenses for inputs, he said.
Citing Cotton Advisory Board figures, he said, a decline in yield per hectare was observed during the last five years. In 2007-08, cotton yield was 524 kg a hectare, which fell to 474 kg a hectare in 2009-10, showing a 12 percent year-on-year dip, he stated.
He said the significant increase in India's cotton production during 2004-05 to 2009-10 was mainly due to two factors - the 2.5 million acres of additional land being brought under cotton cultivation and an increase in cultivation of cotton under irrigated areas. He added that the use of Bt cotton seeds has little role in increasing cotton production in the country.
Cotton crop has failed on 3.373 million acres of land, out of a total 4.7 million acres of land on which the crop was sown in Andhra Pradesh.
In addition, the use of Bt cotton also affects soil fertility and soil fatigue can already be observed in some cotton growing areas in the country, the SAGE National Convenor said.
Fibre2fashion News Desk - India