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Organic Cotton Outperforms Genetically Engineered Cotton in India

NEW DELHI: The benefits of organic cotton seem to clearly outweigh those from Bt Cotton, whose cost of cultivation in Kharif , 2005 was higher by 67 per cent and income lower by at least 37 per cent, says a survey by the Centre for Sustainable Agriculture.

The study conducted in Andhra Pradesh said the total cost of cultivation of Bt cotton per acre stood at Rs 8,366 while the same for organic cotton was Rs 5,008.

Net income per acre, which is gross income minus total cost of cultivation, on Bt cotton was lower by 37 per cent at Rs 3,551 from the organic cotton, which stood at Rs 5,618.

However, in terms of gross income Bt cotton was ahead of organic cotton, the reason being Bt cotton's higher average yield of 6.14 quintals as against 5.23 quintals of the latter.

The gross income of Bt cotton stood at Rs 11,918 but for organic cotton it was Rs 10,627. The average market price per quintal for Bt cotton was Rs 1,941, while for organic cotton it was Rs 2,032.

The study was based on season-long fortnightly monitoring of 120 Bt cotton fields from five districts of Andhra Pradesh and 123 non pesticidal management (NPM)/organic cotton farmers from four districts.

"Bt cotton not only does not deliver the promises made by the companies in their marketing propaganda, it also fares badly compared to non-Bt cotton, especially NPM/organic approaches to cotton cultivation," Centre for Sustainable Agriculture Executive Director G V Ramanjaneyulu said.

Besides, the risks involved in cultivating Bt cotton are high and often unknown and unpredictable, he said.  The study also found that the per acre cost of pesticides used in Bt cotton was 4.8 times more at Rs 1629.