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2-Plants: Booklet on Bt cotton seeds in Andhra Pradesh released

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-------------------------------- GENET-news --------------------------------

TITLE:  Booklet on Bt cotton seeds released
SOURCE: The Times of India
DATE:   June 6, 2003

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Booklet on Bt cotton seeds released

HYDERABAD: The Andhra Pradesh Rythu Sangham (APRS) has released a booklet
warning cotton farmers against the dangers of cultivating Bacillus
thuringiensis (Bt) cotton. After releasing the book on Thursday, APRS
secretary Sarempally Malla Reddy told reporters that the government has
not acknowledged the failure of Bt cotton seeds in the state. He felt
that it was high time the administration took up an initiative to test
the seeds before commercial release. Agriculture scientist A Prasad Rao
said the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee had only permitted
environmental testing of Bt seeds, but the government had released them
on commercial basis. He said, "It's a crime against farmers to release
the seeds before testing them." He dismissed agriculture minister Vadde
Sobhanadreeswara Rao's statement as a lie that there have been no
farmers' complaints against Bt seeds. Rao alleged that the government and
the seed manufacturers were aware of the low yield from Bt cotton seeds.
According to a study conducted by an NGO, AP Coalition in Defence of
Diversity (APCDD), Bt cotton seeds proved disastrous for farmers in
Warangal district. Speaking at a seminar on 'Did Bt cotton save farmers
in Warangal', organised by the APCDD on Thursday, its convener P V
Satheesh said a study headed by agricultural scientists Dr Md Abdul Qayum
and Kiran Sakkari showed that the seeds did not deliver Mahyco-Monsanto's
promise of lower cost of cultivation, pesticide use and yield increase. A
graph displayed at the seminar by Kiran Sakkari revealed that 71 per cent
of the farmers who cultivated Bt cotton suffered losses while only 18 per
cent of the non-Bt farmers reported losses.


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