Bt cotton cultivation up in India: Report

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Bangalore, Feb 18 (UNI) For the third consecutive year in 2007, India recorded the highest proportional increase compared to any other country in the world in the area of cultivation of Bt Cotton with a 63 per cent increase to 6.2 million hectare by 3.8 million farmers.

A report released today by International Service for the Acquisition of Agribiotech Applications (ISAAA) said this was an increase from 3.8 million hectare of Bt cotton area cultivated by 2.3 million farmers in the previous year.

These gains have taken India from having one of the lowest cotton yields in the world to become a net cotton exporter, potentially to five million bales in 2007-08, it said.

At a national level, Bt cotton is a major factor contributing to higher production which increased from 15.8 million bales in 2001-02 to 31 million bales in 2007-08, almost doubling in a short period of six years.

In addition, India overtook the US to become the second largest cotton producing country in the world, after China.

Studies in India and China show Bt cotton has increased yield by up to 50 per cent and ten per cent respectively and reduced insecticide use in both countries by up to 50 per cent or more.

In India, growers' income increased by up to Rs 10,000 or more per hectare. ''It is noteworthy for last six years there has been a 125 fold increase in Bt cotton in India.

''This confirms the trust and confidence the farmers have in Bt cotton and its superior performance in their own fields,'' it said.

Maharashtra is leading the group followed by Andhra Pradesh among nine States that have adopted Bt cotton crop in India.

The first decade -- 1996 to 2005-- belonged to the US and the second (2006-2015) will belong to Asia led by India and China and new countries like Vietnam in the growth of Bt cotton with the number of countries going up from 23 in the last decade to 40 in the coming decade.

The report was released by Dr T M Manjunath of Foundation of Biotechnology Awareness and Education on behalf of ISAAA here today.

UNI SIV GM PBB HS1451

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