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Area under Bt cotton growing steadily

Feb '07
Many farmers have switched over to cultivating Bt cotton in several districts in spite of it being at the centre of controversy.

Cultivation of Bt cotton has increased during last two years and presently comprises about 25 percent of the total area under cotton.

Many farmers of Haveri, Gulbarga, Raichur, Shimoga, Mysore, Bagalkot and Belgaum districts prefer Bt cotton, due to its disease-resistant quality ensuring high yield and more profit.

The area under Bt cotton increased from 30,000 hectares in 2005 to 1.20 lakh hectares in 2006.

Total area under cotton crop in the State is about four lakh hectares, of which 75,000 hectares was under Bt cotton in Haveri district, according to officials of the Department of Agriculture.

The average Bt cotton yield is 2,755 kg per hectare against 1,856 kg in non-hybrid.

Bt cotton yield is 30 percent higher while the pesticides cost is less by 23 percent bringing down cost per hectare to 21 percent. However, the seed cost is up by 16 per cent, according to officials.

A farmer can earn at least Rs10000 more per hectare by cultivating Bt cotton as it is disease-resistant compared to local varieties.

An Integrated Pest Management Programme to educate farmers about benefits of Bt cotton has been launched by the centre.

A study conducted by IIM, Ahmedabad informs that bollworm causes loss of about Euro 300 million per year over and above the cost of pesticides application of over Euro 350 million.

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