1.Bt cotton ruined Andhra Pradesh farmers
2.Bt cotton fiasco: A scientific fairytale
EXCERPTS: "the study compared the results of Bt cottonseeds with conventional seeds. While Bt seeds gave a yield of 535 kg an acre, conventional seeds produced around 650 kg.
...farmers (using Bt seeds) surveyed were found to have earned 60 percent less than those using conventional seeds." (item 1)
No wonder the All India Farmers' Council Meeting of the farmers' organisation of India's ruling Congress party recently called for a ban on GMOs "for all times to come".
"Another team comprising representatives from three NGOs... trailed the expert team [who'd been accompanied by Monsanto]. They interviewed the same farmers who were earlier visited by the expert team, and their testimony before the video camera exposes the rot in scientific assessment and analysis." (item 2)
Bt cotton ruined Andhra Pradesh farmers: NGOs
Business India, April 12, 2005
Hyderabad, April 12 : A group of NGOs Tuesday asked the central government not to extend the licence of Mahyco Monsanto, alleging genetically modified cotton seeds introduced by the company had produced poor crops in Andhra Pradesh.
A report based on the group's three-year study claimed Bt cottonseeds had harmed farmers, and Mahyco Monsanto failed to keep promises made while bringing the seeds into India.
The group also demanded compensation for the farmers.
The central government's Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) is meeting in New Delhi Wednesday to consider extending Mahyco Monsanto's licence for three years.
The report, "Bt Cotton in Andhra Pradesh - a three-year assessment", was prepared by Hyderabad-based Deccan Development Society (DDS) after meetings with farmers using Bt cotton seeds.
Andhra Pradesh is one of the states where Mahyco Monsanto supplies Bt cottonseeds. Last year, these seeds were sown over 100,000 acres.
The report demanded a moratorium on genetically engineered crops in India for five years till a public debate settled the issue.
DDS director P.V. Sateesh said the study compared the results of Bt cottonseeds with conventional seeds. While Bt seeds gave a yield of 535 kg an acre, conventional seeds produced around 650 kg.
Sateesh said the reduction in use of pesticides, one of the advantages claimed in Bt seeds, was just seven percent. The 225 farmers surveyed were found to have earned 60 percent less than those using conventional seeds.
"It (Mahyco Monsanto) failed in its promise of bringing socio-economic benefits to smaller farmers and protecting the environment by reducing the use of pesticides," he said.
2.Bt cotton fiasco: A scientific fairytale
Hindu business Line, Apr 23, 2003 [excerpt only]
IN THE mid-1980s, a World Bank team was travelling through parts of the frontline agricultural State of Haryana, assessing the impact of its `dream' project ”” Training and Visit (T&V) System ”” of farm extension. That was the time when `T&V' was the buzzword and the World Bank had doled out millions of dollars to promote the new farm technology dissemination system to take the latest technology from the agricultural laboratories to the land.
The Indian Express, among the largest selling dailies in India, deputed me to accompany the team. As the Agriculture Correspondent of the newspaper, I was obviously very keen to follow the outcome of the famed programme. The team travelled through some of the dry and semi-arid regions of the State. At most places, farmers were collected to enable the World Bank team to interact with them. The bank's team would ask the same question - whether the programme had benefited them - to farmers wherever they went. And I remember vividly that at most places the farmers would say that the programme had not made any difference to their lives. But what they said was in Hindi, and the project staff translating it for the benefit of the bank's team would invariably turn it around saying: "Sir, he says that the programme has changed his life for the better."
No wonder, the World Bank gave a favourable report. It is, however, another matter that the T&V System now is all but forgotten.
The Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC), the apex body responsible for granting commercial approval to genetically modified crops, too had conducted a similar survey to assess the impact of the transgenic crop in its very first year of planting. A team comprising four experts, who were either part of the government's approval process or represented Andhra Pradesh had toured Nalgonda, Karimnagar and Warangal districts. The team members, all wearing 'bollgard' caps and accompanied by company officials from Mahyco-Monsanto, actually saw the standing crop in ten acres and submitted their favourable report, as expected. Another team comprising representatives from three NGOs - Centre for Resource Education, Sarvadaya Youth Organisation and Greenpeace India - trailed the expert team. They interviewed the same farmers who were earlier visited by the expert team, and their testimony before the video camera exposes the rot in scientific assessment and analysis.
"The Centre [federal government] should bar the access of transgenic seeds and terminator technology in our agro-system for all times to come." - the 53rd All India Farmers' Council Meeting (meeting of the farmers' organisation of the ruling Congress party, Bharat Krishak Samaj)