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2-Plants: Bt cotton to be introduced in India after ascertaining impact

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TITLE:  Bt cotton to be introduced after ascertaining impact
SOURCE: The Financial Express, India
DATE:   November 4, 2001

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Bt cotton to be introduced after ascertaining impact

New Delhi, Nov 4: Union agriculture minister Ajit Singh on Sunday said the 
controversial Bt cotton would be introduced only after ascertaining that 
the Genetically Modified (GM) crop had no adverse impact on environment and 
human health for which final round of trials are on.

Strongly favouring introduction of Bt cotton in the next cropping season to 
multiply productivity, he said that field tests conducted so far on Bt 
cotton have not shown any kind of adverse impact on environment, bio-
diversity, human and animal health. "I hope sowing of the GM seed may be 
allowed if the final results are also positive. Final trial results of the 
Genetically Modified crop is likely to be known within two months", he 
said, describing as "unfortunate" moves to destroy Bt cotton grown by 
farmers in Gujarat. Asserting that farmers would be able to reap rich 
dividends by cultivating Bt cotton, Mr Singh said it is expected to bring 
about a revolution by enhancing productivity by about 30 to 35 per cent.

It is all the more necessary to clear the path for GM crops in view of 
losses to the tune of Rs 700 crore suffered by farmers in Punjab, Haryana 
and Rajasthan with cotton crop in these states getting affected by 
bollworm, he said. On Bt cotton grown in about 10,000 acres in Gujarat, he 
said burning the crop would not provide any solution and moreover "it was 
not the fault of the farmers as they obtained GM seeds which were sold to 
them". Mr Singh said "the Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) should procure 
the Bt cotton grown by farmers in Gujarat, quarantine it and store it in 
their godowns .... at least the lint needs to be preserved".


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