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Bt cotton doubled production, minimised har by pest: Govt

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Since the introduction of in 2002, there has been a "near doubling" of production in the country and the hybrids have also helped to minimise the damages caused by pests like bollworm, the government today said.

Mahesh Sharma's remarks in the Rajya Sabha came in the backdrop of country's Genetically Modified crop regulator Appraisal Committee (GEAC) recommending the commercial use of GM mustard in a submission to the ministry.

The GEAC submission has been met with opposition from activists. Following this, the government referred the issue back to the GEAC after receiving representations from various stakeholders.

In a written reply in the today, of State for said, "Since the introduction of in 2002, there has been a near doubling of cotton production in the country from 158 lakh bales in 2001-02 to 351 lakh bales in 2016-17, and increase in productivity from 308 kg/ha in 2001-02 to 568 kg/ha in 2016 17."

He was asked if the government agencies have portrayed a rosy picture on cotton and whether there was a need for a a scientific study about the impact of GM on health.

"hybrids have helped to minimise the damages caused by Bollworm, reduce pesticide use, increase production, yield and net income of the farmers," Sharma said.

Infestation by Bollworm, a major pest of cotton, he said, has had a devastating effect on cotton crop during the late 1990s, with most of the available pesticides becoming ineffective to control it.

Bt cotton, which is resistant to infestation, was released during 2002-03.

"As per the recent data of and Farmers Welfare, has become the largest of cotton in the world in the year 2016," he said.

He said that evaluation of each application for environmental release of GM is done on a case-to-case basis after a thorough examination of health, environment, and feed safety assessment studies done in India, as per guidelines stipulated by various regulatory agencies.

"Studies and risk assessment documents prepared by international regulatory agencies and by other countries are also referred for ascertaining the safety of the evaluated product," the said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, February 05 2018. 17:45 IST