GENTECH archive


Re: re cotton, archive 1122

>From what I understood about the suicide among Indian farmers it was caused
because they started to grow cotton in places that were not fit for cotton.
Unfortunately this phenomena seems to be not limited to western countries.
Growing the wrong crops in the wrong places is a major cause of agricultural
problems. In that case, Bt-cotton is no solution. I am not sure that Bt-crops
eliminate the use of chemical input. From what I understood still other
pesticides are being applied on these crops. The fact that after three years of
Bt crops no resistance has shown up is not such a great achievement (if it is
true, because i heard other rumours) If in 27 years this can still be said
about the Bt crops, their performance would start to approach the performance
of Bt sprays.

Rick Roush wrote:

> >Wytze wrote:
> >
> >The introduction of chemical dependant cotton in India has led to farmers
> >committting suicide. Why?
> Dear Wytze:
> I agree with much of what you said, but you have oversimplified the
> problems with Indian cotton production, and I believe you are mistaken on a
> few points. Indian farmers chose to grow cotton because it is a valuable
> cash crop, and like small businessman everywhere, have generally planned
> out their costs well. What has trapped Indian farmers (with tragic
> consequences) are problems they did not expect, such as poor yields due to
> bad weather, and more often and importantly, insecticide resistance in key
> pests, especially the cotton bollworm, Helicoverpa armigera.
> Most cotton seed in India is NOT produced by major international "western"
> companies, but is hybrid seed produced with hand pollination by numerous
> small Indian companies.  Further, essentially all cotton pesticides sold in
> India are produced by companies that by law have majority Indian ownership
> and management.
> To stay on topic with these server, the Bt transgenic cotton that so many
> of you oppose has been eagerly sought by many Indian farmers, activists,
> government officials and researchers (several of whom have lobbied me in
> person for help) BECAUSE it can help address the problem of the cotton
> bollworms.  The diversity of Indian agricultural cropping systems (and the
> "refuges" for susceptible bollowrms that other crops provide) mean that the
> potential for evolution of resistance in the bollworms is actually lower
> under Indian conditions than in the US (where there is no detectable
> resistance in the field even after three years of extensive Bt cotton use)
> and many other countries. Provided that these other crops (where bollworms
> cause less significant losses) are not also made Bt transgenic, Bt cotton
> has the potential at the very least to reduce unintentional pesticide
> poisonings of cotton farm workers in India.  I continue to be amazed at the
> logic and ethics of those who would seek to prevent Indian farm workers
> from receiving this benefit.
> Rick