--- Carmelo Ruiz <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Date: Mon, 24 Jan 2005
> Subject: [Carmelo] GM cotton, whom do you believe?
> GM Cotton: Corruption, Hype, Half-truths and Lies
> Conflicting accounts of the success/failure of Bt
> cotton have been coming from India for several years
> now. Monsanto claims that Bt cotton is great for
> Indian farmers, giving increased sales etc., but
> carefully conducted research shows the opposite to
> the case: massive crop failures and uncontrollable
> pest infestations were also reported (see "Broken
> promises", SiS 22). And while politicians, seeking
> appear progressive and patriotic, praised the
> ‘advantages’ of biotech, the farmers have resorted
> at times, violent protest and suicide because of
> losses incurred through using the GM varieties.
> The Indo-Asian News Service reported that
> ministry sources had claimed that the large-scale
> plantation of GM cotton in 2004 had played a big
> in helping India achieve a bumper crop. However,
> earlier that year, India’s Financial Express
> that in spite of claims that India was a key GM crop
> cultivator, the actual area planted with GM cotton
> miniscule compared with the total cotton growing
> about 1 %.
> Monsanto commissioned a marketing organization to
> carry out a survey among Bt cotton growing farmers,
> with a single contact during the second season of GM
> adoption (the first had failed very badly leaving
> farmers in debt). In the same season, a detailed
> carried out by Dr Abdul Qayoom, former joint
> of Agriculture in Andhra Pradesh, and Sakkari Kiran,
> involving contacts with farmers every 15 days,
> that Monsanto’s Bt cotton had been out-performed
> by non-GM cotton. Furthermore, the
> Monsanto-commissioned study had claimed for Bt
> four times the actual reduction in pesticide use,
> twelve times the actual yield, and 100 times the
> actual profit!
> Commenting on a recent ISAAA report, PV Satheesh,
> convenor of the Hyderabad based Deccan Development
> Society said "Bt cotton failed to live up to
> expectations in the third consecutive year in
> different parts of south India.
> Nevertheless, the Federation of Indian Chambers of
> Commerce and Industry remarked that GM crops offer
> potential for huge productive gains, and hold a lot
> promise for Indian agriculture. According to the
> ISAAA, India is categorized as a "mega-biotech
> country" with the highest percentage area increase
> under transgenic crops in the world; though only GM
> cotton is commercially grown. ISAAA claims that Bt
> cotton can reduce insecticide requirements by half,
> and make significantly greater savings for farmers.
> That is most unlikely, because farmers using Bt
> seed are charged a ‘technology fee’ based on
> savings on pesticide application; and also because
> crops do not necessarily reduce pesticide use.
> Moreover, Bt cotton varieties are not always
> against local cotton pests, which can vary from one
> area to the next.
Director, Proyecto de Bioseguridad http://www.bioseguridad.blogspot.com
Research Associate, Institute for Social Ecology http://www.social-ecology.org/
Senior Fellow, Environmental Leadership Program http://www.elpnet.org/
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