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Bt cotton proves a failure in Andhra Pradesh

Sun Network

Hyderabad, Mar 03 - It was hailed as one of the biggest advances in Indian
agriculture. However, there are now clear indicators that the genetically
modified Bt cotton has been a failure at least in Andhra Pradesh.
Farmers in Andhra Pradesh grew Bt cotton crop on 8,000 acres last year. The
genetically modified crop with in-built pest resistance was expected to
reduce heavy input cost on pesticides and also increase yield.

But the state government says farmers aren't getting the yields they were
promised and the poor quality of the crop also fetches a lower price in the
market.

"Overall information is that the farmers have not experienced very positive
and encouraging results," remarked V S Rao, Agriculture Minister, Andhra
Pradesh.

Jaipal Reddy, a cotton farmer from Warangal district, says Bt cotton has
fetched up to Rs 200 less per quintal because the quality was inferior.

"The sprays are less, but the farmers are very unhappy about the size of the
bolls," said Jaipal Reddy, Chairman, Cotton Committee.

Advocates of Bt cotton say drought conditions are also to blame for the
decreased yield. "It has definitely helped in reducing pesticide use. But
whether it has given sufficient yield or not is a different question. Bt
cotton by and large is supposed to have irrigation facilities," said Chengal
Reddy, Farmers' Activist.

Despite the unimpressive performance of Bt cotton, the Andhra Pradesh
government is still open minded about genetically modified crops, as the
government believes that biotechnology has tremendous potential to improve
crop productivity.

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