AP women call for total Bt Cotton ban
‘Slap cases against seed dealers’
Marking the global anti-GMO Week, over 500 women from the Deccan Development Society — communities from the mandals of Zaheerabad, Jharasangam, Raikode and Nyalkal — took out a procession at Zaheerabad against the government’s inaction on the spread of Bt cotton in Medak, 80 km from here.
The women believe that Bt cotton is not only environmentally unsafe but is also wreaking havoc on farm economies. Farmers who are lured by Bt seed dealers with dreams of great returns are finding it to their dismay that even 50 per cent of the promised yields are not being realised.
The women who predominantly cultivate native varieties of millets have demanded a total ban on Bt cotton in Medak District besides slapping serious criminal cases against Bt seed dealers.
The women took out in procession with an effigy of “GMO demon” and burnt it in front of the tahsildar’s office where they submitted their memorandum. Later, they met the district collector to whom they submitted a copy of the memorandum signed by nine women.
They pointed out that in the last few years even millet farmers who cultivate their degraded lands for food crops in Medak were being lured by the cotton industry believing in the “false promises” that they can make heavy profit by growing Bt cotton.
“Our studies done this year in the four mandals of Zaheerabad, Jharasangam, Raikode and Nyalkal have revealed that the yields from Bt cotton is around 500-800 kg per acre under dryland conditions which means that the income is only a net income of around Rs 10,000 per acre ,” the memorandum claims.
This has come as a rude shock to cotton farmers who were dreaming of great gains. Apart from these, dry land farmers have learnt from Bt cotton farmers in Warangal that cattle which have grazed on Bt cotton refuse have died of toxicity.
Women working in Bt farms are suffering from skin diseases and respiratory problems, the report adds.