Sunny D'Souza, a farmer and Member of the Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha, said that a drastic fall in the yield from the genetically modified Bt cotton and increased cost of fertilizers have added to woes of farmers in the region.
Using Bt cotton seeds, a farmer now only harvests about 400 kg of cotton per hectare (1 hectare = 2.5 acres), which is less than the yield they got from local varieties like Devdhar.
The local varieties yielded good results even with one rain, Mr. D'Souza said, during a function organized by the Centre for Sustainable Development, Social Change Management Forum, and the School of Social Work, Roshni Nilaya to release a book titled “BT Cotton and Beyond”.
The prices of Bt cotton seeds have gone up, and consumption of fertilizers that are highly priced has also increased. As such, the claims made in 2000 that the crop would require no pesticide have not proved to be correct, he added.
This has resulted in suicide of around 170,000 cotton farmers in Vidharba and other regions of the country, he said.
He added that it is regrettable that the experts who advise on crop are not engaged in cultivation and are not aware of the ground situation.
The book “BT Cotton and Beyond” contains deliberations of the Afro-Asian Conclave on “Status and implications of genetically engineered crops and post-GE technologies for small farmers in Africa and Asia” held during January in Hyderabad.
Fibre2fashion News Desk - India