Home / Knowledge / News / Textiles / New study on Bt cotton farming

New study on Bt cotton farming

09
Feb '11
Crop yields from India's first genetically modified crop may have been overemphasized, as modest rises in crop yields may come at the expense of sustainable farm management, says a new study by a Washington University in St. Louis anthropologist.

The study, by Glenn Stone, PhD, professor of anthropology in Arts & Sciences, appears in the March issue of the journal World Development.

In his paper, Stone compares village yields in 2003 and 2007, which conveniently had very similar levels of rainfall. “Cotton yields rose 18 percent with the adoption of genetically modified seeds,” Stone says. “This is less than what has been reported in some economics studies, but much better than activists have claimed.”

Pesticide sprayings also were down by 55 percent with the switch to genetically modified seed.

The crop in question is Bt cotton, genetically modified to produce its own insecticide. Approved for Indian farmers since 2002, the technology is being closely watched because it is the most widely planted GM crop on small farms in the developing world.

Many activists and commentators, including England's Prince Charles, have accused Bt cotton of failing, ruining small farmers and causing suicides, Stone claims.

Several studies by economists, however, have shown Bt cotton farmers to be getting higher yields when compared with planters of conventional cotton.

“These economics studies have had a serious weakness,” says Stone, the incoming president of the Anthropology & Environment section of the American Anthropological Association. “The adopters of the new seeds tend to be the most prosperous and well-financed farmers, who were getting better yields than other farmers even before Bt seeds were adopted. Our anthropological research project used a different strategy to assess the seeds' performance.”

Stone conducted long-term research in four villages in Andhra Pradesh, India. He found that in 2003, none of the village farmers had adopted Bt seeds, but by 2007, adoption was 100 percent.

In the paper, Stone also examines overall farm management, finding that the new seeds have come with their own set of problems.

“I would love to see Bt seeds as a real solution to these farmers' insect problems, as many have claimed, but this may be a bit naive,” Stone says. “Conditions in the cotton fields change quickly. Populations of insects not affected by Bt have now begun to explode. We can't forget that cotton farmers enthusiastically adopted pesticide sprays in the 1990s, only to watch them quickly lose their effectiveness.”

Stone shows that the farmers' real problem was never just with cotton pests.

“Before Bt seeds appeared, these farmers had to contend with seed and spray brands and technologies that changed so quickly that the process of judicious experimentation and adoption had broken down,” he says.

The technology in genetically modified seedsis already starting to change at an even faster pace than conventional seeds and pesticides.


Must ReadView All

Pic: Shutterstock

Textiles | On 18th Feb 2020

Turkey, Pak want to raise bilateral trade volume to $5 bn

Turkey and Pakistan want to raise bilateral commercial and economic...

Pic: Shutterstock

Apparel/Garments | On 18th Feb 2020

Bangladesh RMG exporters expect order shift from Cambodia

Bangladesh's readymade garment (RMG) exporters feel the suspension of ...

Pic: Shutterstock

Textiles | On 18th Feb 2020

IMF says Indian economic environment weaker than projected

There is an urgent need for more ambitious structural and financial...

Interviews View All

Top executives, Textile industry

Top executives
Textile industry

Sri Lanka has a good sustainable track record and strong stories to back it

Office bearers, Textile industry

Office bearers
Textile industry

There might be negative impact on garment exports

Pratik Bachkaniwala, Palod Himson Machines

Pratik Bachkaniwala
Palod Himson Machines

Fabric processing machines are picking up

Xavier Martinez,

Xavier Martinez

CADT Software & Drafting was founded in Spain in 1987 by Josep...

Mala Alwani,

Mala Alwani

<div>Delhi-based fast fashion womenswear brand, Besiva, aims to bridge the ...

Kamal Kulshreshth,

Kamal Kulshreshth

Colorjet is among the fastest-growing wide format digital inkjet print...

Isabel Herranz, European School of Business & innovation

Isabel Herranz
European School of Business & innovation

Cutting-edge ideas like the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence ...

Eamonn Tighe, Nature Works LLC

Eamonn Tighe
Nature Works LLC

Eamonn Tighe, Fibres and Nonwovens - Business Development Manager of...

Giulio Cesareo, Directa Plus

Giulio Cesareo
Directa Plus

UK-based Directa Plus is one of the largest producers and suppliers...

Mike Hoffman, Gildan Activewear SRL

Mike Hoffman
Gildan Activewear SRL

Gildan Activewear, a manufacturer and marketer of branded clothing and...

Hemant & Nandita, Hemant & Nandita

Hemant & Nandita
Hemant & Nandita

The designer duo of Hemant &amp; Nandita are known for being inspired by...

Samar Firdos, Arvind Ltd

Samar Firdos
Arvind Ltd

<b>Samar Firdos</b>, Chief Manager (Design) at Lifestyle Apparel Denim...

Press Release

Press Release

Letter to Editor

Letter to Editor

RSS Feed

RSS Feed

Submit your press release on


editorial@fibre2fashion.com

Letter To Editor






(Max. 8000 char.)

Search Companies





SEARCH

Leave your Comments


February 2020

Subscribe today and get the latest update on Textiles, Fashion, Apparel and so on.


Advanced Search