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Farmers ignorant of Bt cotton cultivation method

Feb '07
Vidarbha region was recently in news for suicides committed by farmers growing Bt cotton. A recent survey done among Bt-cotton growers of the area said most farmers were unaware of high expenditure with lower yields in cultivation of Bt cotton.

Bt-cotton farmers had to undergo an average loss of Rs1,725 per acre and with yield of 3 to 5 quintals per acre instead of 12 to 15 quintals promised earlier, said the survey carried out by Delhi-based research and advocacy organisation for gene campaign.

Manner of adopting Bt-cotton pest resistant seed variety in Vidarbha region was the subject of a study carried out in 2006 covering 500 farmers from Amravati and Yavatmal districts holding less than two hectares of land.

"For Bt-cotton the farmers should use less fertiliser and pesticide since the plant has been genetically modified. But due to lack of information, the farmer often puts more of them to increase the yield which raises input costs," Suman Sahai from gene campaign said.

Spurious seeds were being sold as Bt-cotton seeds by small traders which could further harm farmers, said Sahai.

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