Bt Cotton Plantings on the Rise in India
Despite all of the controversy over the years, the use of genetically modified cotton in India has made impressive jumps over the last decade.
March 29, 2012
Despite all of the controversy over the years, the use of genetically modified cotton in India has made impressive jumps over the last decade. Bt cotton plantings for the 2011/12 totaled 12.1 million hectares (ha), compared with only 7.7 million ha in 2002/03, according to an article published in the Financial Chronicle.
In a report from the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Application (ISAAA), the authors say that Bt cotton cultivation has achieved phenomenal success in transforming the current cotton crop into the most productive and profitable one India has seen over the past 10 years.
Even larger than the jump in Bt planting is the number of cotton growers using it: the group of 50,000 farmers who planted it in 2002/03 has exploded to 7 million in 2011/12. No country plants more of it than India, an amount that’s three times greater than farmers in China use.
The impacts on inputs and yield have also been profound. Since 2001/02, cotton accounted for 46% of the total insecticide consumption in India. That number has dropped to 21% in 2011/12. During that same period, the average yield in India has increased from 388 kg/ha in 2001/02 to 499 kg/ha in 2011-12. The bottom line is much greater production, which increased from 13.6 million bales in 2002/03 to 35.5 million bales in 2011/12, helping India become a net exporter.