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Farmers prosper with Bt cotton cultivation

Press Trust Of India  |  New Delhi 

Cotton farmers have earned an additional income of Rs 7,per cent increase in yield due to the use of Bt cotton seed, says an Assocham report.
Assocham's report 'Bt Cotton Farming in India', a joint effort of Indicus Analytics and IMRB, establishes the overall socio-economic benefits that have accrued to the cotton farmers as a result of the introduction of this technology.
"Farmers who planted Bt cotton in 2006 earned an additional Rs 7,039 crore in income based on 8.77 million acreage penetration achieved during the crop season," the report said.
The report said that there has been about 50 per cent higher yield increase in Bt fields in 2006, when compared with conventional cotton fields.
"The net profit to farmers from Bt cultivations was significantly higher by 162 per cent at Rs 7,757 per acre over conventional cotton," it said.
While the use of Bt cotton has fetched farmers Rs 12,541 per acre, the conventional cotton has yielded Rs 4,484 per acre, the study says.
"Bt cotton is now extensively used. India has become surplus in cotton and is ranked third in the world. About 3.8 million hectare of area is under Bt cultivation, which is a 2 per cent increase over 2006, across 9 states," said Anil K Agarwal, the former Assocham President.
The officials pointed out that despite the Bt seed costing 2.5 times more than the conventional ones, the farmers are able to generate additional income through savings in the reduction of pesticides besides the higher yield.
"The total reduction in pesticide expense is Rs 934 per acre," an official said, adding overall cotton production had gone up by 31.20 million quintals of seed cotton or 18.35 million bales (170 kg a bale) due to the shift.
As regarding the socio-economic benefit, the report said nearly 40 per cent of the Bt users have endorsed the fact that they now need to spend less time on the field due to the adoption of Bt cotton.
The time thus saved is utilised for nurturing their children by assisting them in education and planning their future, the report said.
Commenting on the socio-economic appraisal of Bt cotton cultivation in India, one of the study groups of the report, Indicus Analytics, says that the villages sowing Bt seeds have proved to be better than non-Bt villages in many aspects.
"Bt villages are better in health, education, usage of technology, economic conditions of the community, access to economic infrastructure and reproductive health among other things," it said.

First Published: Wed, July 11 2007. 00:00 IST