4 March 2003
BT COTTON PROVES A FAILURE IN ANDHRA PRADESH
"the state government says farmers aren't getting the yields they were promised and the poor quality of the crop also fetches a lower price in the market."
Note that the attempt to puff Bt cotton at the end of the article comes from "Chengal Reddy, Farmers' Activist" and Monsanto's ally - see The Fake Parade:
*Bt cotton proves a failure in Andhra Pradesh
*Cabbage gets Bt gene
Bt cotton proves a failure in Andhra Pradesh
Hyderabad, Mar 03 - It was hailed as one of the biggest advances in Indian agriculture. However, there are now clear indicators that the genetically modified Bt cotton has been a failure at least in Andhra Pradesh. Farmers in Andhra Pradesh grew Bt cotton crop on 8,000 acres last year. The genetically modified crop with in-built pest resistance was expected to reduce heavy input cost on pesticides and also increase yield.
But the state government says farmers aren't getting the yields they were promised and the poor quality of the crop also fetches a lower price in the market.
"Overall information is that the farmers have not experienced very positive and encouraging results," remarked V S Rao, Agriculture Minister, Andhra Pradesh.
Jaipal Reddy, a cotton farmer from Warangal district, says Bt cotton has fetched up to Rs 200 less per quintal because the quality was inferior.
"The sprays are less, but the farmers are very unhappy about the size of the bolls," said Jaipal Reddy, Chairman, Cotton Committee.
Advocates of Bt cotton say drought conditions are also to blame for the decreased yield. "It has definitely helped in reducing pesticide use. But whether it has given sufficient yield or not is a different question. Bt cotton by and large is supposed to have irrigation facilities," said Chengal Reddy, Farmers' Activist.
Despite the unimpressive performance of Bt cotton, the Andhra Pradesh government is still open minded about genetically modified crops, as the government believes that biotechnology has tremendous potential to improve crop productivity.
Cabbage gets Bt gene
A team of Indian scientists led by Dr R. C. Bhattacharya working at the Indian Agricultural Research Institute at Hyderabad University has been successful in incorporating the Bt gene in cabbage. The development assumes importance as the new transgenic variety has been found to be resistant to diamond back moth, a pest that is most dreaded by cabbage growers. Currently chemical insecticides are used to control the pest. But the pests are developing resistance to the synthetic insecticides. Tests at the laboratory have shown it to be highly effective. But it has still to be demonstrated under open field conditions.The new Bt. cabbage variety has been developed by using one of the most popular varieties of cabbage, the Å’Golden Acre”š. The development is also of great significance at the global level as cabbage is an important vegetable grown extensively throughout the world. According to global estimates, the cost of the damage caused by the pest would be of the order of $1 billion every year. Cabbage is among the oldest of vegetables known for human food. The wild ancestor of cabbage is native to the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. It also grows on the sea cliffs of Great Britain, where it was probably introduced by the Romans. Of the many cultivated plants that have been developed from wild cabbage some are raised as ornamental plants, some as fodder for livestock, and a great deal more as food for humans. No one knows for sure when cabbage came to India. It was perhaps introduced in India in the Mughal period. However, its popularity grew during the British rule. Today it is one of the most popular winter vegetables in India.