In this podcast, India-based environmental journalist Jitendra Choubey talks about the illegal cultivation of genetically modified (GM) herbicide-tolerant Bt cotton (HT/Bt cotton) in India and how it has created chaos in India’s agriculture fields over the past decade. (Time 31:29)
He speaks to an organic cotton grower, Mr Vasant Futane, from the Central Indian state of Maharashtra, who explains how his organic cotton field is being affected due to the rise in the use of glyphosate. Further, he explains what GM crops are, how they are different from non-GM crops, and their probable environmental implications. He also tells the scandalous story of the introduction of GM cotton crop – Bt cotton – in India. Later, he speaks to the farmers’ leader from Central India, Vijay Jawandhiya, who tells how big companies are involved in supplying illegal HT/Bt cotton seeds under the nose of the government. The last part of the podcast is a detailed interview with the scientist, Dr Keshav Raj Kranthi of the International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC), a Washington-based, global cotton research and advisory body. Dr Kranthi explains why HT/Bt is a serious concern for farmers and the environment and what needs to be done to regulate it.