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Biotech body bats for Bt Cotton

BS Reporter  |  Chennai/ Bangalore 

The Association of Biotechnology-led Enterprises (ABLE) on Tuesday said has received good response from farmers in the country on the back of higher productivity and the lesser cost of cultivation.

India has also turned into an exporter of this commodity from an importer a few years ago due to the higher production per acre, said. “Despite opposition from certain sections of the society, farmers have adopted in a big way and there is no harmful impact of cultivating the crop in the cotton growing regions of the country,” T M Manjunath, entomologist and consultant — Agri-Biotechnology, said on the sidelines of releasing his book on here.

He also said, negative lobbying backed by pesticide was one of the main reasons or misconceptions about Bt Cotton.

In value terms, according to a study, Indian pesticide industry is estimated to be around Rs 7,400 crore including exports of Rs 2,900 crore.

Bt Cotton, developed for the control of bollworms, is the only biotechnologically modified crop approved by the Government of India for commercial cultivation since March 2002.

Since its commercialisation, Bt Cotton is now grown across most of the regions in the country with substantial benefits to farmers. As per the Association of Biotechnology-led Enterprises, farmers who cultivate Bt cotton have made Rs 10,000 per hectare profit in the recent times.

Similarly, cultivated area of Bt Cotton has increased from 29,000 acres in 2002 to over 10 million hectares in 2010, which account for 92 per cent of India’s total cotton area. Number of farmers adopting this technology has increased from 20,000 in 2002 to over 6 million in 2010.

“Those opposed to this technology have made allegations that Bt protein is not safe to biodiversity with harmful impact on human and cattle population. Such claims with out any scientific evidence have created a lot of doubts among general public. So, people should be made aware about the usefulness of this technology,” Manjunath said.

Bt Cotton is presently cultivated in nine states, namely Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan among others.

First Published: Thu, March 31 2011. 00:07 IST