'Hybrid cotton seeds influence farming choices'

'Hybrid cotton seeds influence farming choices'

Hybrid Bt cotton seeds have a significiant influence on farming choices in many states, including Karnataka, according to a study titled ‘Socio-Economic Impact Assessment of Bt Cotton in India,’ conducted by the Council for Social Development and commissioned by the Bharat Krishak Samaj (BKS).

Ajay Jakhar of BKS told the media in Bangalore on Wednesday that shifting to Bt cotton had resulted in higher yield, productivity and returns, reduction in pesticide consumption and had improved the standard of living of farmers.

He said 1,050 farmers and 300 agricultural labourers were surveyed in cotton growing areas of Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat. It was found that pesticide consumption in the country declined by 23 per cent, and the seed usage came down from 9.23 kg per ha to 4 kg per ha, in post Bt cotton period.

On an average, 85 per cent farmers and landless labourers have been able to invest in better quality education for their children, 77 per cent reported intake of high value and nutritious food, 70 per cent in recreation and social functions, 75 per cent
on health of their family members, and 64 per cent on health of livestock, he said.

Jakhar said 94 per cent of the farmers have stated that Bt cotton yield was higher and 87 per cent farmers maintained that returns were higher than non-Bt cotton.
However, 92 per cent of the farmers said that the expenditure on Bt cotton seeds was more than non-Bt cotton, he added.

“The idea is to separate truth from perception. If 60 lakh farmers are saying that Bt cotton has proved effective, their choice needs to be respected,” he said.

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