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Expert endorses Bt cotton decision

Our Bureau  |  Kolkata 

"Bt cotton is extensively used in the US and has made deep inroads in China. It is a wonder cotton seed that can drastically reduce the use of pesticide and improve productivity. In some parts, farmers have already been using Bt cotton unknowingly and they have come up with wonderful results," Prakash said.

Prakash, a professor of plant biotechnology at the College of Agriculture of Tuskegee University, US, expressed hope that full-scale introduction of Bt cotton could double the current Indian productivity of 250 kg per hectare in about four years. Moreover, the genetically modified seed would make Indian farmers competitive as they would not have to spray pesticides 14-15 times for each crop, he said.

"Only 5 per cent of India's cultivated land is used for cotton cultivation, but it consumes nearly 50 per cent of the total pesticides used in the country. The US saved nearly 40 million litres of pesticides in last seven years using Bt cotton," Prakash added.

With farmers endorsing Bt cotton as a miracle crop with no negative impact, the era of transgenics has arrived in India, Prakash noted.

"India should shed its conservative stand on the entry of transgenic crops into the country," he pointed out.

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First Published: Fri, April 12 2002. 00:00 IST