“Maharashtra Govt. and CICR initiative to test Non-BT cotton seed in Vidarbha” is admission of Bt.cotton failure - Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti
Nagpur -21st June 2012
Vidarbha cotton farmers’ advocacy group Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti (VJAS) has welcomed the move of Central Institute of Cotton Research (CICR) and The Maharashtra government to implement a pilot project titled as the Brazilian model of Non-Bt.cotton promotion in eight districts of Vidarbha region to start cultivation of straight varieties of cotton in place of hybrid or Bt (Genetically-Modified) ones, the government appears to be doing a rethink over its policy of promoting Bt cotton which confirm complete failure of Bt.cotton seed technology but such project will be futile when nearly 90% of the area under cotton in India is under Bt varieties which cover around 12 million hector and any trial 160 acres of land belonging to 160 farmers in this region will be difficult to give desired result hence we demand complete ban Bt.cotton cultivation in dry land region of vidarbha to make compulsory for cotton farmers’ to cultivate non-Bt straight indigenous varieties which are proven for hundreds of years Kishor Tiwari of vidarbha advocacy group Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti (VJAS.) informed today .
“Vidarbha is agrarian crisis is directly linked with as all farmer suicide prone district mono crop which is predominantly cultivated is Bt.cotton since 2005 and now State agriculture commissioner Umakant Dangat officially admitted that India has the lowest cotton productivity in the world and Maharashtra, the lowest in India and union agriculture minister Mr Sharad Pawar own admission that vidarbha dry land farmers are losing more than Rs.2000 crore per year since introduction of Bt.cotton seed in vidarbha, is proven fact that it’s classic example of promoting wrong technology to wrong class agrarian community as rain sensitive crop has proven killer seed in west vidarbha as 95% farmers opted this technology are dry land farmers ” Tiwari added.
“We are shocked to see statement of Central Institute of Cotton Research (CICR) Director Keshav Kranthi who was instrumental to lunch Desi-Bt.cotton seed which left ICAR red-faced when fact surfaced that it was stolen technology Monsanto now claiming that the cost of seeds of straight varieties is much lower than Bt varieties, besides which these varieties become ready for plucking in just 150-160 days whereas BT varieties take around 180-200 days, which reduces the need for fertilizers, pesticides and other nutrients substantially. And unlike Bt cotton varieties, seeds derived from straight cotton varieties can be used during the next season where as same Central Institute of Cotton Research (CICR) and The Maharashtra government to introduce Bt.cotton seed resulting nearly 9,000 cotton growing farmers suicide due to Bt.cotton failure since June 2005 hence we demand that Government must come clean on Bt cotton and admit that policy of promoting Bt cotton in the rain-fed areas was wrong, which prompted farmers to commit suicide across the country” Tiwari said.
‘We need long term planning to develop proven to crop pattern and methodology not trial project of imported technology where as neighboring Andhra Pradesh cotton farmers have adopted NPM practices in nearly 3.5 lakh acres, across different crops. Net returns of farmers are increasing and time has come go back to our traditional sustainable agriculture not MNC base input driven” Tiwari added