Monday, March 26, 2012

10 years of Bt Cotton in India / Tamilnadu

பி டி பருத்தி தமிழகத்திற்கு வந்து 10  ஆண்டுகள் ஆகிவிட்டன. இருந்தும் நாம் சரியான பாடம் கற்றுக்கொண்டோமா? நமது தவறுகளிலிருந்து புரிந்துக்கொள்வோமா?  ஓர் விவர ஆய்வறிக்கை : SFA- பாதுகாப்பான உணவிற்கான கூட்டமைப்பு இந்த 10 ஆண்டுகளில் பி.டி. பருதியின் பயணத்தை அரசாங்க தரவுகளிளிருந்தே தகவல் சேகரித்து வெளியிடுகிறது. தயவு செய்து இதனை பார்த்து இந்த தகவல் எல்லோருக்கும் சென்றடைய உதவுங்கள். (download report in Tamil)

Dear Friends!

It is 10 years since Bt Cotton was introduced in India / Tamil Nadu. That is the only Genetically Modified crop (though rated non food crop) allowed and it is time the Govt and policy makers think through it strongly and see the stark realities.

Safe Food Alliance has brought out a detailed report in Tamil on " A decade of Bt Cotton in Tamil Nadu". It is important that this analysis and data has to reach more people and especially farmers. Hope you all see this document and ensure good press mention.

Pl note that Bt cotton has failed in its single stated mission of reduction of pesticide and hence input costs. Scientific studies and data from Government and seed company's sites prove this, as detailed in the report. The target pest bollworm has developed tolerance to Bt , whereas secondary pests like mealy bugs and whiteflies which were hitherto unseen are causing major damage. At the farmer level, pesticide spraying increased heavily after the first three years of advent of Bt.

On the yield front too it is not all that hunky dory as they want us to believe. The 6 year average preceding the introduction of BT in 2002 is 290.17 kilos per hectare, where as the next 6 years after BT’s advent is 272.17 kilos. Infact there are fantastic yields like 316 and 324 kilos in years before Bt.
It is indeed a worrying factor that inspite of being pulled up by the Advertisement 
regulator for having made claims about benefits of genetically modified ( GM) cotton which was dismissed as baseless by the watch dog regulator.

Official information shows that Bt cotton requires more inputs in terms of fertilizers and irrigation and  it is estimated that Bt cotton farmers have lost Rs.10,000 crores due to crop failure. Even the government compensation of Rs.2000 crores is quite small considering the loss.

Talking of loss, what of  farmers' distress and suicides? In all, the situation out there is stark and it is sad that we are letting these companies get away with false promises, selling myths and hypes.

This is a wake-up call for the Government, Parliamentarians, policy-makers, farmer organizations and media to closely examine the crisis in the cotton belt and critically re-assess the 10 years of Bt cotton. The government should stop promoting Bt cotton and pro-actively advise farmers about its unsuitability and risks. We cant keep ignoring the fact that there are successful and productive eco friendly practices to control and combat pests.
It is shameful that while the Indian farmer is reeling under the crisis and Bt Cotton faced its worst failure, the recent State of Indian Agriculture report talks of Bt Cotton as an unqualified success and promotes GM technology as a magic bullet. GM technology has clearly demonstrated what it can do to a country like India.

What India needs is a an approach for food security that is rooted on protecting farmer livelihoods and income, farm and seed sovereignty, safe food for all, and democratic decision-making on agriculture science, research and technology. 

 (download report in Tamil) 

Feel free to contact us: Safe Food Alliance: Ananthoo, 9444166779 | Ram, 9444957781 | Selvam, 9443663562

Monday, March 5, 2012