Following the advent of Bt-cotton, India has become one of the net exporters of cotton from a net importer, a study conducted by Council of Social Development has said.
Between 2002-2009, growth rate of cotton exports increased by over 75% and the increase of cotton area grew by 4.91% in the last 10 years, farmers organisation Bharat Krishak Samaj, which commissioned the study, said.
"India's share in the value of exports increased from 0.75% in 2000 to 10.53% in 2009. It was also observed that pre-Bt Cotton period the cotton exports in quantity terms were negative 24.6% and in value terms they were at negative 21.3%", Samaj Chairman Ajay Vir Jakhar, revealing the findings to reporters here, said.
However, the development of Bt-Cotton in India has "made the country become one of the net exporters of Cotton from a net importer of Cotton", he said.
The study was conducted across nine major cotton growing states, including 1,050 farmers and 300 agricultural labourers.
He said with the cultivation of Bt-Cotton in 2002-03, the growth rate of Cotton area, production and yield between 2002 and 2011 increased by 4.91, 9.25 and 4.95%, respectively.
The highest average yields of Cotton, over the last three years were seen in Tamil Nadu at 943.67 kg per hectare, followed by Gujarat at 659.33 kg per hectare, Andhra Pradesh at 564.33 kg per hectare,Haryana at 533 kg per hectare,Punjab at 538.67 kg per hectare, Rajasthan at 506.33 kg per hectare.
On the usage of seed, Jakhar said the total seed usage of Cotton declined from 9.23 kg per hectare in the Pre-Bt Cotton period to just 4 kg per hectare in the post-Bt Cotton period.
On the source of cotton seeds, Jakhar said most farmers were depending on various private players for their supply. "Instead of depending upon others (for supply of seeds), we need investments for developing our own technology".
Noting that the average net returns of farmers in Tamil Nadu was 41%, he said compared to this figure, the average returns of farmers in other States were "very high".
He said through the cultivation of hybrid Bt-Cotton seeds, the average income of farmers increased by a whopping 375% and 99% of the farmers surveyed in the study said yields from hybrid Bt cotton seed were "higher" than non-Bt cotton.
He said in terms of the cost involved for the cultivation of Bt-Cotton, labour cost was higher at 57%, followed by fertilisers at 14%, mechanisation cost at 11%, seed cost at 12% and pesticide cost at six%.
Farmers growing hybrid Bt-Cotton have "significantly" improved the standard of living in the past decade, it said.