Indian official: Insect-resistant GMO cotton has increased production, decreased pesticide use

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The production of cotton in the country has nearly doubled since the introduction of Bt cotton in 2002, the government told the Rajya Sabha [the upper house of the Parliament of India]….

In a written reply to a question, Union minister Mahesh Sharma also said the hybrids have helped to minimise the damages caused by pests like bollworm.

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Mahesh Sharma

His remarks assume significance as they come amid a controversy over the country’s GM crop regulator, Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC), recommending the commercial use of GM mustard in a submission to the environment ministry.

Several groups, including RSS-affiliate Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM), have criticised the GEAC move, saying commercial use of GM mustard would impact allied agri-activities.

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[Editor’s note: RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) is an Indian right-wing, Hindu nationalist, paramilitary volunteer organization that is widely regarded as the parent organization of the ruling party of India, the Bharatiya Janata Party.]

The minister, however, said evaluation of each application for environmental release of GM crops is done on a “case-to-case” basis after a thorough examination of health, environment and food and feed safety assessment.

“Since the introduction of Bt cotton in 2002, there has been a near doubling of cotton production …” he said.

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

Read full, original post: Bt cotton doubled production, minimised harm by pest: Govt

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