Acreage of Bollard cotton in TN increased: MMB official

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Perambalur, Jan 24 (UNI) Mahyco Monsanto Biotech (MMB) today announced that the coverage of Bollgard cotton in Tamil Nadu has increased to 2.85 lakh acres during the current cotton season' against 2.2 lakh acres in 2006, reprsenting 29 per cent increase, MMB Regional sales manager (Cotton Traits) Gnanapugalendhi said today.

Addressing a press conference here, he claimed that Bollgard insect protected cotton was used widely around the world as an environmentally friendly way of controlling bollworms.

Stating that Bollgard was giving farmers better yields, he said during the last three years there was a phenomenal increase in acreage across the nine cotton growing states. The coverage under Bollgard which was 3.1 million acres in 2005, grew to 8.7 million acres in 2006, and in 2007, it increased to 14.4 million acres. The increase in acreage and the number of farmers adopting Bollgard was a testament to the growing success and acceptance of the technology in India, he claimed.

Mr Gnanapugalenthi, who took a press party to some of the cotton cultivated fields in Vepanthattai in this district claimed that with the adoption of MMB's Bollgard technology, farmers engaged in cotton cultivation in South India, especially in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu earned Rs 825 crore as additional income in 2006.

Overall farmers in all the nine BT cotton growing states earned Rs 7,039 crore as additional income in 2006 based on 8.77 million acreage penetration achieved during this crop season. These, among others were the findings of the third nationwide survey on the ''Economic Benefits of Bt Cotton Cultivation in India'' by IMRB International. Better yields, reduction in pesticide sprays against bollworms and higher profits were identified as the biggest benefits from the introduction of Bollgard (Bt cotton) in India, he claimed.

The rigorous scientific studies conducted in India and abroad demonstrate that Bollgard and its products were safe for environment, human beings, animals and agriculture, he added.

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