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<i>Bt</i> cotton on 9.5 mn ha in India in 2011

The area under genetically modified insect-resistant Bt cotton in India is estimated to have touched 9.5 million ha this year, says the Ministry of Agriculture. That is a slight increase over the 9.4 million ha in 2010 ( Agrow No 620, p 21). Studies conducted by the Indian Central Institute for Cotton Research (Nagpur) have shown that Bt cotton has played a major role in effectively protecting the crop from bollworms, especially American bollworm ( Helicoverpa armigera), the Ministry says. Insecticide usage has decreased from 46% in 2001 to less than 26% after 2006 and 21% during 2009 and 2010. There is “enormous farmer support” for Bt cotton, as more than 90% of the area in all the cotton-growing states in India is now under it. There have been a few stray reports of opposition to the technology from NGO groups, but these have had a miniscule impact on the spread of Bt cotton in India, the Ministry adds.

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