Why Indian farmers are buying unapproved herbicide-resistant GMO cotton seeds

r
A worker harvests cotton in a field on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, India, October 24, 2016. REUTERS/Amit Dave/Files

If market and industry estimates are true, Indian farmers have, in the current kharif season, bought and planted about [350,000] packets of genetically modified (GM) cotton seeds incorporating unapproved “herbicide tolerance” or HT technology.

Right now, the only GM cotton permitted to be grown in India are hybrids/varieties that contain ‘cry1Ac’ and ‘cry2Ab’ genes, isolated from the soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) and coding for proteins toxic to bollworm insect pests. The government hasn’t so far approved cultivation of cotton harbouring other GM traits, including resistance to specific herbicides.

Cotton cultivation typically entails three rounds of weeding, each requiring 9-10 laborers per acre. At Rs 1,500-2,000 for every round — plus 2-3 times of bullock inter-culture operations, each costing Rs 500-600 — the farmer would spend upwards of Rs 6,000 per acre on removing weeds that compete with his crop for nutrients and water. If all this trouble — including finding labor just when most need — can be avoided by spraying herbicide, and there is technology enabling that, one can easily understand why nine [hundred thousand] farmers may have planted HT cotton, even without official approval.

If only the government and the NGOs, too, understand.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis. Read full, original post: Grey Market: When nearly a million Indian farmers plant ‘unapproved’ GM cotton

Outbreak
Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
Video: Test everyone – Slovakia goes its own way to control COVID

Video: Test everyone – Slovakia goes its own way to control COVID

As Europe sees record coronavirus cases and deaths, Slovakia is testing its entire adult population. WSJ's Drew Hinshaw explains how ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
globalmethanebudget globalcarbonproject cropped x

Infographic: Cows cause climate change? Agriculture scientist says ‘belching bovines’ get too much blame

A recent interview by Caroline Stocks, a UK journalist who writes about food, agriculture and the environment, of air quality ...
organic hillside sweet corn x

Organic v conventional using GMOs: Which is the more sustainable farming?

Many consumers spend more for organic food to avoid genetically modified products in part because they believe that “industrial agriculture” ...
benjamin franklin x

Are most GMO safety studies funded by industry?

The assertion that biotech companies do the research and the government just signs off on it is false ...
favicon

Environmental Working Group: EWG challenges safety of GMOs, food pesticide residues

Known by some as the "Environmental Worrying Group," EWG lobbies for tighter GMO legislation and famously puts out annual "dirty dozen" list of fruits and ...
m hansen

Michael Hansen: Architect of Consumers Union ongoing anti-GMO campaign

Michael K. Hansen (born 1956) is thought by critics to be the prime mover behind the ongoing campaign against agricultural biotechnology at Consumer Reports. He is an ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend