Sustainable rewards worth the risks? India cracks down on farmers growing unapproved glyphosate-tolerant cotton

bt cotton
Credit: India Today

A high-level expert panel set up by the Indian Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has found that nearly 15% [of the country’s cotton] was planted with illegally produced and unapproved herbicide tolerant (HT) seeds [last year].

[Editor’s note: India’s cotton crop is approximately 90% GMO; all of the genetically engineered cotton is an insect-resistant variety known as Bt. This controversy revolves around a HT variety trait variety legal  in other countries, which allows farmers to cut back drastically on the use of highly toxic herbicides and substitute instead glyphosate, which is of low toxicity.]

Farmers are using “HT cotton for 1-2 years and are satisfied with the technology which is less labour intensive and hence is cost beneficial,” the report said pointing to the risks farmers are taking despite the possibility of facing prosecution or seeds turning out to be of poor quality.

“Some farmers companied about the lack of trait purity (or seed quality and effectiveness) but they could not do much as they do not have any bill to show as a proof of seed purchase,” the report said.

Related article:  Fact check: South African political party misleads about glyphosate's cancer risk

Using HT cotton seeds, farmers can spray herbicides like glyphosate which kills the weed but not the cotton plant which is genetically tolerant to chemical sprays. [Editor’s not:

Currently India allows glyphosate to be used only for tea plantations and non-agricultural use.

Based on its findings the FISEC panel recommended state governments to “destroy all confiscated HT cotton seeds”, enforce labelling requirements by GEAC such that only approved seeds are available in the market, and restrict use of glyphosate in farming.

Editor’s note: “Kharif” is the fall growing season in India, during which farmers plant and harvest cotton and other crops. 

Read full, original article: High-level committee blows the lid off illegal cotton seed business

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