Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Bt show at 10--THE TIMES OF INDIA-

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The Bt show at 10

F0r a farmer there is nothing m
ore precious than his crop. But in parts of Vidarbha
region this week, groups of farmers and women put fire to their cotton produce. The farmers were
all deep in debt and the women were mostly widows of men who have committed
suicide in recent years. It was not a protest against banks or moneylenders, it was a protest against Bt cotton which the farmers blame for their misfortunes.

Bt cotton completed 10 years in India this week and Vidarbha farmers used the moment to raise their voice against the seed that once promised them gold. Instead, they cry, it has turned them into paupers.

India commercialised its first transgenic crop, Bt cotton, in March 2002. It was sold to cotton-growing states that were told the seed had an inbuilt capacity to resist American bollworm pests. But in the impoverished belts of eastern Maharashtra, Bt technology started losing its sheen in 2005 as crops began to fail.

Ramesh Sankeniwa Reri of Hiwara village took a loan of Rs 3.5 lakh for Bt seeds only to see his crop fail last year. "I barely managed to earn Rs 1 lakh from my failed crop. How will I pay the loan? I have two young children and don't know how I can sustain my family. Now, I have decided to cultivate soybean and chana. A lot of farmers here have already committed suicide," he says.

The situation is so serious that last year Maharashtra had to bail out Vidarbha farmers with a Rs 2000-crore relief package. "In 2002, farmers were told that Bt cotton will reap gold. Aggressive advertising campaigns continued to mislead farmers who quit their indigenous drought resistant varieties and started buying expensive Bt cotton seeds worth Rs 3000 for two packets. It almost doubled the cost of production ," says Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti (VJAS) chief Kishor Tiwari.

One of the main reasons for crop failure in Maharashtra was lack of irrigation facilities. "Vidarbha is a classic example of wrong selection of Bt technology in dry regions. Most farmers who committed suicide in the Vidarbha region are Bt farmers" adds Tiwari.

But Vidrabha's tragic tales are only one side of the story. Experts believe it's wrong to blame Bt cotton for suicides. "There are farmer suicides in West Bengal, too, where there are no genetically modified crops. I think people are wrongly connecting farmer suicides in Maharashtra with Bt cotton," says S K Datta, director-general (crop sciences ) at the Indian Council of Agricultural Research.

Datta asserted that the yield is not stagnating everywhere. "Some villages near Rajkot in Gujarat have a productivity of 850 to 900 kg lint per ha. It's much higher compared to all other states. This is because they have managed the Bt crop well, supplementing it with check dams and drip irrigation."

There are others, too, who think Bt is good. This week, the biotech industry celebrated a decade of success . The International Service for Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications report claimed that "the production of Bt cotton seed and its by-products had increased from 0.46 million tones in 2002-03 to 1.20 million tones in 2010-11 ."

Production has indeed gone up in some parts of the country, but the technology has created other problems . According to V S Vijayan , former chairman of Kerala State Biodiversity Board chairman and prominent ecologist, indigenous varieties of cotton have almost disappeared because of cross pollination with Bt cotton. "There was a similar issue in Mexico which is the 'centre of origin' of maize. But once Bt maize was introduced, all the local 35 varieties of maize disappeared ," says Vijayan. A recent report by the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel also declared that no genetically modified crops should be introduced to protect the rich biodiversity of the area.

The situation is not very different in Punjab. Some Bt farmers have started taking interest in organic farming. "Initially the yield per acre of Bt cotton went up to 10 quintals but it has now come down to around eight, which is what even an organic farmer is getting without spending anything on pesticide sprays and seeds," says Kheti Virasat Mission chief Uminder Dutt.

On the 10th anniversary of the introduction of this technology in India, as Punjab's farmers return to organic farming, the Bt story seems to have come full circle.

With reports from Snehlata Shrivastav, Nagpur; Ankur Jain, Ahmedabad; and Sanjay Sharma, Chandigarh

Vidarbha cotton growers protest against new proposed tax-PTI

Vidarbha cotton growers protest against new proposed tax

PTI | 08:03 PM,Mar 31,2012
Nagpur, Mar 31 (PTI) Protesting against Maharashtra government's announcement of imposing fi
ve per cent VAT on cotton,
farmers in Vidarbha region today held protests and hunger strikes demanding a rollback of the decision.
They also protested against Union Commerce Ministry's "stringent" rules of revalidation for cotton export. b Pointing out that in other cotton-growing states the VAT is not more than 2 per cent, the farmers have demanded the state to roll back decision. "Cotton traders, owners of cotton processing plants and exporters came together today to protest and decided to intensify the stir if their demands were not addressed soon," president of Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti (VJAS) Kishore Tiwari said.
"Five million cotton farmers, facing crop failure are being subjected to heavy economic losses due to needless restriction put by the Commerce Ministry on export and the recent announcement of the Maharashtra government to impose five per cent VAT on all the raw cotton purchases in the state," he said. According to him, cotton prices in the state fell further by around Rs 200 at Rs 3,400 per quintal, following the state government's budget announcement five per cent VAT. "We have urged the government to pay to the farmers and traders all the compensation for the financial losses due to wrong policies of export and taxation and have demanded a special incentive for cotton export," Tiwari added.
The additional tax burden has hit the market sentiment which was already low with the virtual stalling of exports since March 5. While on the one hand the state government has decided to extend a relief of Rs 2,000 crore to around 5 million cotton farmers after crop failure in more than nearly 40 lakh hectares, he pointed out. Prices, which were around Rs 4,200 in the first week of March, have steadily declined to Rs 3,400 in the current week. "This will only add to the economic losses of the already distressed cotton growers," Tiwari said.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Cotton Traders to Protest New Tax-TIMES OF INDIA

Printed from
Cotton traders to protest new tax
TNN | Mar 31, 2012, 01.40AM IST

NAGPUR: Five million cotton farmers of the state who are facing crop losses are now being subjected to need
less restrictions on exports by the Union commerce ministry and recent announcement of the state gove
rnment to impose 5% tax on all raw cotton purchases. Cotton traders, processing plant owners and exporters will
come together and resort to agitation,Vidarbha Jan Ando
lan Samiti president Kishore Tiwari said on Friday.

Tiwari said the traders, cultivators and processors will jointly sit on a protest fast for the day on Saturday at Agrasen Bhavan in Pandharkawda on Saturday. They are demanding freeing cotton exports and providing special incentives for exports and uniform taxation on cotton purchases in India.

Cotton prices in the state fell by around 200 at 3,400 a quintal following the state government's budget announcement of imposing a value-added tax (VAT) of 5% on cotton. The additional tax burden has hit the market sentiment which was already low with the virtual stalling of exports since March 5.

While on the one hand the state government has decided to extend a relief of 2,000 crore to around 5 million cotton farmers after crop failure in more than nearly 40 lakh hectares, it took a harsh measure to put 5% VAT on cotton, said Tiwari.

Prices which were ruling around 4,200 in the first week of March have steadily declined to 3,400 in the current week. "This will only add to economic losses of the already distressed cotton growers," said Tiwari. He has urged the state to roll back VAT and bring it on par with 2% levied in other states.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

जाचक अटींमुळे कापसाची निर्यात ठप्प असताना महाराष्ट्र सरकारने कापसावर ५ टक्के कर लाद्ल्यामुले कापसाच्या कीमती पडणार

जाचक अटींमुळे कापसाची निर्यात ठप्प असताना महाराष्ट्र सरकारने कापसावर ५ टक्के कर लाद्ल्यामुले कापसाच्या कीमती पडणार

नागपुर-२८ मार्च २०१२
महाराष्ट्रामध्ये ६० लाख गाठीची कापसाची आवक होत असून त्यापैकी फ़क्त १० लाख गाठी च वापर राज्यात होतो व ५० लाख गाठी निर्यात होतात सरकारने आता ५ टक्के वाट च्या रुपाने कर लावला आहे त्यामुले व्यापारी कापसाचे भाव दहा टक्के कमी करणार हे निय्चित जाले आहे कारन राज्य बहे हा दर २ टक्के आहे सर्कार ३ टक्के रक्कम परत करणार नाही व याचा नुकसान शेतकर्यांचे होणार करीता सरकारने ५ टक्के कराचा प्रस्ताव मागे घ्यावा अशी मागणी विदर्भ जनआंदोलन समितीचे अध्यक्ष किशोर तिवारी यांनी केलीआहे.
महाराष्ट्र सरकारने कापसावर ५ टक्के कर लाद्ल्यामुले कापूस कीमती पडणार असून पूर्वी सरकारच्या जाचक अटींमुळे कापसाची निर्यात ठप्प झाली असून कापूस उत्पादक शेतकरी अडचणीत सापडला आहे. त्यामुळे कापसाची निर्यात विनाअटीने खुली करण्याची मागणी विदर्भ जनआंदोलन समितीचे अध्यक्ष किशोर तिवारी यांनी केलीआहे.
भारत सरकारने ५ मार्चला कापसावर अचानक निर्यातबंदी लावली. मात्र कृषी मंत्रालय सत्तारूढ व विरोधी पक्ष, महाराष्ट्र, गुजरात, आंध्रप्रदेश, पंजाब व मध्यप्रदेश सरकारने या निर्यात बंदीला जोरदार विरोध केल्यानंतर सरकारने कागदावर निर्यातबंदी उठविली. मात्र त्यामध्ये जुन्या निर्यात परवान्याला पुन्हा परवानगी घ्यावी लागेल व नवीन निर्यात प्रमाणपत्र देणे बंद केल्याचे नमूद करून अघोषित निर्यातबंदी कायम ठेवली आहे.यामुळे ५ मार्चपासून कापसाची निर्यातबंदी ठप्प झाली आहे. कापसाचा व्यापार मंदावला असून कापसाच्या गाठीचे भाव ३६ हजार रुपयांवरून ३२ हजारांवर आले असून शेतकरयांच्या कापसाचा भाव सुद्धा ४ हजारांवरून ३४०० रुपये प्रति क्विंटलवर आला आहे. एकीकडे सर्व राजकीय पक्ष निर्यातबंदीचा विरोध करीत आहेत, तर वाणिज्यमंत्री कापसाच्या निर्यातीवर नवीन नवीन निर्बंध आणून कापसाची निर्यात बंद करण्यात यशस्वी झाले आहे. अशा परिस्थितीमध्ये २३ रोजी अर्थमंत्री, कृषिमंत्री व वाणिज्यमंत्री यांच्यासमोर हे सर्व मुद्दे विदर्भ जनआंदोलन समितीने रेटले असून कापसाच्या निर्यातीवरील सर्व बंधने काढून ३ मार्चपूर्वीची खुली निर्यात करा, अशी मागणी शेतकरी नेते किशोर तिवारी यांनी केली आहे.
सध्या भारतात फक्त २४२ लाख गाठींची आवक झाली असून सरकारी आकडेवारी नुसारच १२० लाख कापसाच्या गाठी बाजारात येणे आहे. अशा परिस्थितीमध्ये वाणिज्य मंत्रालयाने २० मार्चला कापूस निर्यातीसंबंधी नवीन आदेश काढला असून यामध्ये पहिले भारत, पाकिस्तान, बांगलादेश व नेपाळच्या निर्यातीचे प्रलंबित निर्यात पुनर्विचार करण्यात येईल व त्यानंतरच ज्याचीनला ७० टक्के कापूस निर्यात होत आहे त्यावर विचार करण्यात येईल. त्यानंतर नवीन निर्यात परवाने विचारात घेण्यात येतील, असा आदेश काढला आहे. यामुळे बाजारात अधिक मंदी आली आहे. ज्या निर्यातदारांनी मार्च व फेब्रुवारी महिन्यात तांत्रिक कारणामुळे निर्यात केली नाही त्यांना वाणिज्य मंत्रालयातील अधिकारी नूतनीकरणासाठी कोट्यवधीची मागणी करीत आहेत, तर कापूस निर्यातदारांना सरकारने कापूस तस्करीच्या दर्जात टाकून त्यांची चौकशी सुरू केल्यामुळे अनेक निर्यातदारांनी आपल्या निर्याती प्रमाणपत्राचे अर्जच परत घेतले. यामुळे कापसाचे भाव अशीच परिस्थिती राहिली तर हमीभावापेक्षा कमी होतील व निर्यात योग्य १०० लाख गाठी पडून राहिल्या तर पुढच्या वर्षीही कापसाला भाव मिळणार नाही. यामुळे ७० लाख कापूस उत्पादक शेतकरयांवर प्रचंड आर्थिक संकट उभे असून भ्रष्टाचाराने लिप्त असलेले वाणिज्यमंत्री कोणत्याही
परिस्थितीत मुठभर गिरणी मालकांना पोसण्यासाठी निर्यातीवरील अटी दूर करण्यास तयार नाही. शेतकरयांच्या प्रश्नावर ओरड करणारे काँग्रेस, राष्ट्रवादी काँग्रेसचे मंत्री व खासदार यांनी बघ्याची भूमिका घेतल्यामुळे निर्दाेष शेतकरयांच्या आत्महत्येची वेळ आलीआहे. कापसावरील निर्यात खुली करावी, अशी मागणी किशोर तिवारीयांनी केली आहे

Saturday, March 24, 2012

'आर्थिक सर्वेक्षणाने पुरोगामी आघाडी सरकारचा चेहरा उघड'

'आर्थिक सर्वेक्षणाने पुरोगामी आघाडी सरकारचा चेहरा उघड'

प्रत्येक वर्षी अर्थसंकल्प सादर करण्यापूर्वी महाराष्ट्र सरकारने सनदी अधिकारी जे आर्थिक सर्वेक्षण सादर करत होते. त्यात राज्याचा विकास होत आहे व महाराष्ट्रा्रगती पथावर आह,े असे मृगजळ दाखविण्यात येत होते. मात्र या वर्षीच्या आर्थिक सर्वेक्षणात महाराष्ट्रावरील गंभीर आर्थिक संकटाची जाणीव नौकरशाहीने करून दिल्याबद्दल विदर्भ जनआंदोलन समितीने मस्तवाल नोकरशाहीचे आभार मानले आहे. २00१ मध्ये प्रगती पथावर असलेल्या व जगात विकासाच्या गतीमध्ये अव्वल नंबरवर असणार्‍या महाराष्ट्रावर २00१ मध्ये असलेले ३0 हजार कोटींचे कर्ज या वर्षी २ लाख ३६ हजार रुपये होत असल्याची गंभीर माहिती अधिकृतपणे सरकारने दिली आहे. यात सरकारची कृषी व ग्रामीण विकासामध्ये उणे ५ टक्के होणारी प्रगती कारणीभूत असून औद्योगिक व पायभूत सवलतीमध्ये विकासाचा दर कमी होत असून महाराष्ट्रामध्ये बरोजगारी दुप्पटीने वाढल्याचे सरकारने कबूल केले आहे. या दिवाळखोरीला आघाडी सरकारमधील अनियंत्रित भ्रष्टाचार व गलथानपणा कारणीभुत असून केंद्र सरकारने या गंभीर संकटाची चाहूल घेत राज्यात राष्ट्रपती शासन लागू करावे, अशी मागणी विदर्भ जनआंदोलन समितीने आज महाराष्ट्राच्या राज्यपालांना दिलेल्या निवेदनात केली आहे.
मागील वर्षी सरकारने कृषी व ग्रामीण विकासाचा दर १५ टक्के राहील, असे निश्‍चित केले होते मात्र तो शून्याच्या खाली जाऊन उणे ५ टक्के झाला आहे. उद्योग व सेवा क्षेत्रातील विकासदरही ११ टक्यावरून ९ टक्क्यांच्या खाली जात आहे. या वर्षी सरकारने राज्यात अन्नाचे उत्पादन १५४ लाख टनावरुन २३ टक्के कमी होत ११८ लाख टनावर येत असल्याचे म्हटले आहे तर राज्याचे नकदी पीक असलेल्या कापसाचा पेरा विक्रमी ४२ लाख हेक्टरमध्ये होत असताना उत्पादन मात्र १५ टक्क्यांनी कमी होत असल्याची नोंद या आर्थिक सर्वेक्षणात केली आहे.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Ten yrs later, NGOs claim Bt cotton is all hype nothing else-DNA

Ten yrs later, NGOs claim Bt cotton is all hype nothing else

DNA / DNA Correspondent / Wednesday, March 21, 2012 8:02 IST

**Kishor Tiwari of the Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti, said, “The fact is that the crisis of cotton farmers in Maharashtra has only become deeper after the adoption of Bt cotton. This year, we estimate that Bt cotton farmers have lost Rs 10,000 crores due to crop failure. Even the government compensation of Rs 2,000 crores is quite small considering the loss. It is an irony that the state government is compensating for the failure of private company seeds.”**

Claiming that Bt Cotton has not revolutionised country’s cotton production as promised, a group of NGOs on Tuesday demanded from central government a comprehensive and independent review of 10 years its use.

They also asked for a special discussion in Parliament on cotton farmers’ crisis and 10 years of Bt cotton and a special parliamentary committee to look into the issue.

The group of NGOs that came under the ‘Coalition for GM-Free India’ banner claimed in a report released here that hype around Bt cotton is wrong.

They said a close examination of the government’s own data for the last 10 years negates the two important claims of dramatic yield increase and significant fall in pesticide usage.

The report states that opposite to the promise of high cotton yield, Bt cotton has resulted in stagnant yields, pest resistance, new pest and disease attacks.

“The real yield gains in the past decade (from 278 kg/ha to 470 kg/ha) happened from 2000-01 to 2004-05, when Bt cotton area had reached only 5.6% of the total cotton area. From 2005-06 to 2011-12, when the Bt cotton area grew to exceed 90% of the total cotton area, there is no sustained yield gain - only going from 470 kg/ha to 481 kg/ha,” said Kiran Vissa, co-convener of the Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture.

“It is the pre-Bt cotton yield gains that have proved to be stable, resulting from various factors including fresh land brought under cotton cultivation, expansion of irrigation and use of high-yielding hybrids,” he said.

It said rather than usage of pesticide going down due to the use of Bt Cotton, it has instead increased slowly in the last few years.

The study comes nearly a week ahead of the 10th anniversary of the introduction of Bt Cotton.

The activists said in Andhra Pradesh, state government estimates show that out of 47 lakh acres planted with Bt cotton during 2011 Kharif season, the crop failed in 33.73 lakh acres (71% of the area). The state government reported that 20.46 lakh farmers suffered from cotton crop failure and lost Rs 3,071.6 crores.

Kishor Tiwari of the Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti, said, “The fact is that the crisis of cotton farmers in Maharashtra has only become deeper after the adoption of Bt cotton. This year, we estimate that Bt cotton farmers have lost Rs 10,000 crores due to crop failure. Even the government compensation of Rs 2,000 crores is quite small considering the loss. It is an irony that the state government is compensating for the failure of private company seeds.”

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Sharad Pawar’s Big Success Story of Bt.cotton is Untrue and Contradicts of Govt. Data –VJAS

Sharad Pawar’s Big Success Story of Bt.cotton is Untrue and Contradicts of Govt. Data –VJAS.

NAGPUR -21/03/2011

This information given by Shri Sharad Pawar, Minister of Agriculture and Food Processing Industries in written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha yesterday regarding big success story of Bt.cotton in India in last decade after introduction of Bt.cotton is misleading as per Govt. data released by his own ministry regarding cotton yield and use of insecticide in fact the cotton cultivation has jumped from 7 million hector to 12 million since but surprising Bt.cotton cotton production in last five years is getting reduced whereas use of insecticide and pesticides has been increased the official data of research institutes related ICAR ,informed by vidarbha cotton farmers advocacy group Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti (VJAS.) activist Kishore Tiwari with shocking official dta that contradicts union agriculture ministry false hyped claimed and part of state owned propaganda to crate environment for allowing genetically modified (GM)seeds AND clearing BARI bill.

Shri Sharad Pawar, Minister of Agriculture and Food Processing Industries in written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha informed that and

“With the use of high quality hybrid cotton seeds Indian farmers experienced the biggest gain in form of reduced insecticide usage from 46% in 2001 to less than 26% after 2006 and 21% during the last two years 2009 and 2010. Introduction of Bt. cotton hybrids has helped in production increase from 156 lakh bales (170 Kg lint per bale) in 2001 to an estimated 356 lakh bales in 2011. Bt. cotton was introduced in 2002 and the area increased from 0.29 lakh hectares in 2002 to 95.04 lakh hectare in Kharif 2011 (Target). The productivity was 309 Kg per hectare in 2001 before the introduction of Bt. cotton which increased to 495 Kg/ha in 2010.The Bt. cotton hybrids approved till date do not require any herbicide, in addition, to those required by their non Bt counterparts for enhancing the results. Also, Cotton farmers in the country are not required to sign any contract”.

“As per ground reality the last ten years

After Bt cotton officially entered India, its manufacturers and promoters would like the world to believe that it is an unqualified success. The false hype is typified by recent advertisements by Mahyco-Monsanto claiming “Bollgard boosts Indian cotton farmers’ income by over Rs.31,500 crores,” which was pulled up by Advertising Standards Council of India for false information. The reality is starkly different.

The cotton farmers are in deep crisis after ten years of Bt cotton. The spate of farmer suicides in 2011-12 has been particularly severe among Bt cotton farmers. The extensive crop failure has exposed the false hype and advertising, often repeated by policymakers and regulators. In Andhra Pradesh, out of 47 lakh acres planted with Bt cotton during Kharif 2011 season, the crop failed in 33.73 lakh acres as per the state government estimates in December 2011[1]. This means two-thirds of cotton area had yield loss of more than 50%! In Maharashtra, the bad performance of cotton crop has led to lowering of the production estimates significantly in spite of increase in the area of cotton cultivation.[2]. The cotton farmer crisis has forced the Maharashtra government to take the unprecedented step of declaring Rs.2000 crore as compensation package. Maharashtra has seen the highest number of farmer suicides (3141 in 2010), particularly in the cotton-growing belt of Vidarbha and Marathwada’’ Tiwari added.

“In India where more tah 2 lakhs farmers committed suicides due to debt and crop failure are from cotton growing region of India and state sponsored Bt cotton propaganda is that Bt cotton has been primarily responsible for doubling the cotton production in India, and for phenomenal increase in yields. However, closer examination of the data shows a different picture” Tiwari said by producing official data

Cotton Yield gains – Pre-Bt and Post-Bt

While Bt cotton was approved in 2002, the initial adoption was slow, and by 2004-05, only 5.6% of the cotton cultivated area was planted with Bt cotton. The graph below is based on yield data from Cotton Corporation of India[3] and area under Bt cotton adapted from Dr. K.R. Kranthi, Director of Central Institute of Cotton Research. Considering the period from 2000-01 as the pre-Bt Cotton expansion period and the phase from 2005-06 to 2011-12 as the Bt cotton period, a different picture of the yield gains emerges In the Bt cotton period starting from 2005-06, an increase in yield is seen for a couple of years, showing a moderate 17% increase over 3 years up to 2007-08 (554 kg/ha compared to 470 kg/ha). But the yields show a downward trend since then. Presently, the cotton yields have reached pre-Bt levels – 481 kg/ha compared to 470 kg/ha. In fact, the yield estimate of 481 kg/ha for 2011-12 is only an initial estimate from the Cotton Advisory Board and the actual number is likely to be lower.

This trend is corroborated in the paper of Dr. Keshav Kranthi (CICR) reviewing the 10 years of Bt Cotton. “The main issue that worries stakeholders is the stagnation of productivity at an average of 500 kg lint per ha for the past seven years. The gains have been stagnant and unaffected by the increase in area of Bt cotton from 5.6% in 2004 to 85% in 2010. The yield was 463 kg per hectare when the Bt cotton area was 5.6% in 2004 and reached a mere 506 kg per hectare when the area under Bt cotton increased to 9.4 M hectares at 85% of the total 11.1 M hectares.”

· The same paper provides numbers which show “progressive problems and stagnation of production and productivity” The data, shown pictorially indicates declining productivity, and the trend would be even clearer if the 2011 numbers are included. Please note that there are small differences in the numbers put out by the Cotton Advisory Board and CICR but these do not impact the trends.

High input requirement of Bt Cotton

The high-input requirements of Bt cotton in terms of fertilizers and water make the crop an increasingly risky investment for small farmers, particularly in rainfed areas which constitute a majority of the cotton-growing area in India. The depletion of nutrients and soil health is also a related problem.

Fertilizer requirement in Bt cotton and soil health: According to Dr C D Mayee (ISAAA Board Member) and former Co-Chair of GEAC, “If the area under advanced transgenic seeds increases to 10 per cent in a few years from the present level of 4 per cent, the country’s fertiliser consumption will increase 107 per cent to 220 kgs per hectare (ha) from the current levels (the latest available figure 2005-06), at 106 kgs per ha.” According to recommendations to farmers from ANGRAU, one of the few universities doing research on Bt cotton and Non-Bt cotton, Bt cotton requires 15% more fertilizers. (Agricultural Almanac, ANGRAU 2009) . According to Dr.Kranthi there has been depletion of nutrients in the soil due to repeated cultivation of Bt cotton hybrids, which draw more nutrients and water from the soil. The crop is exhibiting nutrient deficiency especially in rain-fed zones where wilt and leaf-reddening problems are also getting more severe over the years.

Irrigation and water requirement in Bt cotton
Bt hybrids need to be irrigated more frequently at peak bolling around October when the need for water is high and temperatures are also high. It may otherwise lead to wilting. Bt hybrids need more water in a short span because of shorter duration (reproductive phase) vis-à-vis conventional hybrids. This is problematic particularly in the rain-fed cotton areas.

Pesticide Usage, Pest Resistance and Emergence of New Pests

While Bt cotton came in with the promise of drastically reducing the use of pesticides in cotton, the experience of these 10 years shows that there is no sustained reduction in pesticide usage. The experience of farmers clearly shows that while a lower number of pesticide sprays was required in the first two years of Bt cotton adoption, thereafter the pesticide requirement has increased, and now the number of pesticide sprays required is equal to or more than that in the pre-Bt cotton period.

Table: Pesticide usage in Metric Tonnes technical grade.

Table: Pesticide usage in Metric Tonnes technical grade.






Andhra Pradesh






























Madhya Pradesh






All India






The pesticide usage trends in the major cotton-growing states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka are shown above. While Maharashtra shows a significant upward trend from 3198 MT to 4639 MT, the other states show only marginal change, except for the downward trend in Andhra Pradesh. Increased use of low-volume pesticides: This same period has seen an enormous increase in the use of low-volume pesticides which require a much smaller quantity per acre. Therefore, the statistics of pesticide usage in metric tonnes in fact masks the increased use of pesticides. Pink bollworm becomes resistant: In early 2010, Monsanto disclosed that the cotton pest -pink bollworm- had developed resistance to the Cry 1Ac toxin (Bt) in Bollgard I in Gujarat[10] (the first State where Bt cotton was planted commercially).
Bollworm resistance to Bt: Resistance monitoring studies done at CICR have demonstrated that bollworm (helicoverpa armigera), the target pest of Bt cotton, has developed tolerance for it. Other studies have also shown bollworm surviving and reproducing in Bt cotton both single gene and double gene Bt (Renjith et al, 2010). Emergence of secondary pests: In his 2011 report Dr.Kranthi states: “Productivity in north India is likely to decline because of the declining potential of hybrids; the emerging problem of leaf curl virus on the new susceptible Bt-hybrids; a high level of susceptibility to sucking pests (straight varieties were resistant); problems with nutrient deficiencies and physiological disorders; and mealy bugs, whiteflies and miscellaneous insect problems that are likely to increase.”

Mealy bug menace: According to Dr.Kranthi, a mealybug not observed in India before, has spread in the cotton regions and farmers have been spraying “extremely hazardous” pesticides to eliminate this hard-to-kill pest. The prolific spread of Bt cotton hybrids has created a conducive climate for the rapid spread of this pest.

Pesticide expenditure increases: At a meeting of the GEAC in early 2011, Dr KR Kranthi cautioned about the lack of refugia and resistance management. In his report to the MoEF, he said that with 90% of cotton area under Bt, resistance will develop sooner than later. There has been emergence of new sucking pests and pesticide expenditure has risen from Rs 597 crore in 2002 to Rs 791 crore in 2009”.

Manipulation by Seed Companies
Aggressive and unethical promotion: No other seed was sold like Bt cotton has been sold in the country by Mahyco-Monsanto.One such misleading advertisement was recently pulled up by Advertising Standards Council of India. [16] Paid news, advertorials with fake success stories have been exposed in 2011 in Maharashtra. Windfall profits for seed companies: Bt cotton cultivation in India is completely through hybrids and not through varieties and the seed is from proprietary sources; this means that farmers have to buy seed from companies every season. Bt cotton seed market is about Rs. 4000 cr. out of the total seed market of Rs. 10,000 crores.[17] In 2011, word spread from industry about projected shortage of Bt cotton seeds; so farmers bought seeds in black at prices up to Rs 2700, three times the MRP of Rs 930.
Monopolistic control over seed market: An estimated 93% of the seed represents the proprietary technology of Monsanto (Bollgard I and Bollgard II). Rs 1600 crores have gone from cotton farmers as royalty to one company, Monsanto.

Exorbitant Seed prices: The monopoly control by one company has led to exorbitant pricing of Bt cotton seeds which were initially priced between Rs 1650-1800 for 450 gms of Bt cotton seeds ( in 2004), as against Rs 350 for hybrid seeds and less than Rs 100 for desi cotton seeds.[18] After the seed prices were brought under control through the MRTP Act and Essential Commodities Act, Monsanto has taken the A.P. and Gujarat governments to Court to decontrol seed priced. the hype around Bt cotton as revolutionizing the cotton production in India is clearly wrong. The contribution of Bt cotton to the productivity is questionable, with gains in cotton productivity being steady and impressive in the pre-Bt cotton phase.
The wide-scale adoption of Bt cotton in India has been due to various reasons which include aggressive promotion, often with the involvement of state agencies, wide publicity to the initial short-term benefits with respect to bollworm incidence and frustration of farmers with pesticide usage, and unavailability of non-Bt seed. But the adoption of Bt cotton has been wrongly used as an indicator for its success. The distress among cotton farmers has clearly continued after widespread Bt cotton adoption, especially in rainfed areas – as shown by farmer suicides, crop failures and rising debt.
The negative impacts of Bt cotton are being clearly documented and articulated including by government scientists – nutrient depletion, impact on soil health, pest resistance, emergence of new pests – and these are already showing serious impact on the cotton crop and the farmers. However, no nuanced analysis is allowed to be established in the face of aggressive PR tactics of the proponents. It should be seen by policy-makers that Bt cotton has not been a magic bullet for sustaining either farmer incomes or productivity. At best, it is a technological input that has shown moderate short-term gains that have already disappeared. The Bt Cotton story holds clear precautionary lessons to reject similar hype around other Genetically Modified crops as the inevitable solution. There exist more sustainable and farmer-friendly solutions such as Non-Pesticidal Management in A.P. which has expanded through the state government’s Community Managed Sustainable Agriculture program registering a 125-fold increase in 6 years (from 25000 acres in 2005 to 32 lakh acres in 2011). There have been no suicides among the farmers who have adopted this model.

“The story of Bt cotton is clearly that of false hype and failed promises. Bt cotton has failed to meet its promise in terms of sustained yield gains, pest protection and reduction in pesticide usage. It is time for the government, scientists and policy-makers to reject the hype around Bt cotton, and focus on sustainable solutions and pro-farmer measures to achieve production, environmental safety and farmers’ welfare that are long-lasting” Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti (VJAS.) activist Kishore Tiwari urged .

Monday, March 12, 2012

Now Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) to study Maharashtra Agrarian Crisis

Now Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) to study Maharashtra Agrarian Crisis

Nagpur-13 March 2012

After High published recent visit of special parliament panel headed MP Basudeo Acharia to farm suicide hit region of Maharashtra now the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) chairman Ashok Gulati is visiting Marathwada another worst hit region of Maharashtra where more farm suicides are reported than than vidarbha in 2011 to discuss basic issue behind the agrarian crisis of region in third week of march before the presentation of Indian budget , informed farm activist Kishore Tiwari of Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti VJAS,.

‘The visit of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) chairman Ashok Gulati who is accountable to fix minimum support price (MSP) for main crop of Maharashtra which are cotton,soya ,paddy and pulses failed to give any justice in last two years as MSP fixed CACP was fixed much below the cost of cultivation and he ignored the recommendations of state Govt. asking for it’s revision but all time he manage to shift focus of sustainable price to agriculture produce of dry land farmers of region to issue of irrigation as he Recently, the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) had in a report stressed the need for a financial package to improve irrigation in the region advocating urgent need for special integrated watershed management programme for Vidarbha, of around Rs 30,000 crore, dovetailing it with agriculture which is baseless as he is not our of the basic crisis of dry land farmers who are forced to cultivate non-sustainable highly risky and volatile to climate and market which is killing farming community at large .when CACP talks about fixing of cost there is total failure of UPA to procure cotton ,paddy or pulses when they are being traded below the MSP which is just mockery of CACP existence’ Tiwari asked.

‘CACP chairman Ashok Gulati’s visit drought-prone dry land region of Maharashtra is create environment for UPA Govt. declare another contractor driven financial package for farmers in Vidarbha in name of Bringing Green Revolution in Eastern India plan (BRGEI) and CACP is likely discuss the issues from the impact of low rains, high inputs costs and diminishing returns on investments with hand picked 400 progressive farmers and will discuss the expected dams to make best use of scarce water resources the package could be one of the biggest central government doles to Vidarbha, after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s Rs 3,750-crore debt relief package in 2006. all packges failed west vidarbha hence he has shifted his visit to Latur from Amaravati but these are proven futile exercise and CACP chairman Ashok Gulati knows truth that faulty policies at the centre is root cause of agrarian crisis not the issue of irrigation or farm mechanization. BGREI is eye wash as dry land region agrarian crisis has touched to it’s bottom land has lost fertility, chemical farming is 100% loss making and rain sensitive crop like cotton and soya are killing the farmers due to successive crop failure and non-suitable American Bt.cootn seed’ Tiwari


BGREI needs to have focus on sustainable agriculture in dry land and CACP should focus on MSP which is rational price to Agri. Produce and stabilization fund and mechanism for the proper procurement when prices are below MSP that is need of hour not packages planned in budgets ,Tiwari urged.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

कापूस निर्यातबंदीचा धसका - विदर्भात चार शेतकरयांच्या आत्महत्या सरकारने जागतिक भावाने कापूस खरेदी करण्याची मागणी

कापूस निर्यातबंदीचा धसका - विदर्भात चार शेतकरयांच्या आत्महत्या
सरकारने जागतिक भावाने कापूस खरेदी करण्याची मागणी
यवतमाळ, १०मार्च
केंद्रसरकारनेलावलेल्याकापसाच्यानिर्यातबंदीचाधसकाघेऊनगेल्यादोनदिवसांतविदर्भातीलचारशेतकरयांनीआत्महत्याकेलीआहे. निर्यातबंदीनंतरस्थानिकव्यापारीजिनिगव्यापारयांनीतातडीनेकापूसखरेदीबंदकेल्यामुळेशेतकरीहताशझालाआहे. केंद्रसरकारनेकापसाचीनिर्यातबंदीत्वरितहटवावीकिवासरकारनेचजागतिकभावानेकापसाचीखरेदीकरावी, अशीमागणीकिशोरतिवारीयांनीकेलीआहे.
कापसाचीनिर्यातबंदीआणित्यामुळेथांबलेलीस्थानिककापूसखरेदीयामुळेयवतमाळजिल्ह्यातीलबोरजईच्याशंकरवैद्य, सावंगा (खु.) येथीलशेषरावराजपल्लू, गोंदियाजिल्ह्यातीलघटेगावचेनीळकंठमांदाडेआणिअमरावतीजिल्ह्यातीलशेंदोळायेथीलबापूरावउमपयाचारशेतकरयांनीआत्महत्याकेलीआहे. याशेतकरयांच्याआत्महत्यानसूनसरकारच्याधोरणामुळेहोतअसलेल्याहत्याचआहेत, असाआरोपविदर्भजनआंदोलनसमितीनेकेलाआहे.
गेल्यामहिन्यातकापसाला४२००रुपयेप्रतिकि्वटलभावहोता. परंतुदिल्लीच्याप्रमुखकापडनिर्यातदारांनीकाँग्रेसपक्षालानिवडणुकीसाठीपैसेदेऊननिर्यातबंदीच्याअफवापसरवल्या. त्यानंतरव्यापारयांनीहाभाव७००रुपयांनीकमीकरून३५००रुपयेकेला. हाभावमार्चपर्यंतसुरूहोता. मात्रमार्चलानिर्यातबंदीचाआदेशआल्यानंतरआदिलाबादघाटंजीयेथीलबाजारातकापसाचेभाव२५००रुपयेकि्वटलपर्यंतपाडण्यातआले. शेतकरयांचासंतापपाहूनव्यापारयांनीआपलाजीववाचवण्यासाठीकापसाचीखरेदीचबंदकरूनटाकली.
आजशेतकरयांच्याघरी३०टक्केकापूसतसाचपडलाअसूनविदर्भातीलव्यापारयांकडे३०टक्केकापसाच्यागाठीतयारहोऊनपडूनआहेत. ऑक्टोबरतेफेब्रुवारीपर्यंतभारतातकापसालामागणीनाहीम्हणूनखरेदीमध्येमंदीहोती. तरआतागिरणीमालकांचीमागणीपूर्णकरण्यासाठीअचानकपणेनिर्यातबंदीआणण्याचाकटनेमकाकोणीरचला, असाप्रश्नसुद्धाविदर्भजनआंदोलनसमितीनेउपस्थितकेलाआहे.
कापसाचीनिर्यातबंदीउठविण्यासाठीपंतप्रधानमंत्रिसमूहाचीबैठकबोलावतात, परंतुत्यामध्येनिर्णयघेण्यातयेतनाही. कापूसबंदीचेखुलेसमर्थनवाणिज्यमंत्रीआनंदशर्माआणिकाहीअधिकारीकरतात. त्यांनाकोणाचेसंरक्षणआहेअसाहीप्रश्नसमितीनेविचारलाआहे. गिरणीमालकांनापोसण्यासाठीनिर्यातबंदीलागूकरायचीअसेलतरसरकारनेजागतिकभावानेतात्काळकापूसखरेदीसुरूकरावी, अशीमागणीमारेगाव (सोनबर्डी)येथेशेतकरयांच्यासांकेतिकउपोषणआंदोलनातकिशोरतिवारीयांनीकेली. कापसाच्यानिर्यातबंदीमध्येमोठ्याप्रमाणातघोटाळाझालाअसूनयाघोटाळ्यामध्येसंपुआसरकारचेअनेकचेहरेसमोरयेणारआहेत. हेसंपूर्णप्रकरणटूजीपेक्षाहीमोठेअसूनवाणिज्यमंत्रालयाचाहाभ्रष्टाचारत्यापेक्षाखूपचमोठाअसल्याचाहीआरोपत्यांनीकेलाआहे. विदर्भातचारशेतकरयांच्याआत्महत्यासरकारनेजागतिकभावानेकापूसखरेदीकरण्याचीमागणीकिशोरतिवारीयांनीकेलीआहे.