Cultivation of Bt brinjal and herbicide-tolerant Bt (HTBT) cotton, which are not authorised by the Union government, is catching up across the country.
Why farmers prefer Bt varieties????
Brinjal crops are vulnerable to pest attacks, especially the fruit borer, that sometimes damage 35-40 per cent of the crop, thus affecting the grower financially.
Bt brinjal derives its name from Bacillus thuringiensis bacteria which contains protein to help the crop resist pest attacks.
HTBT cotton helps the plant withstand the effect of herbicides that are sprayed to kill weeds on plants besides resisting pest attack.
Where do farmers get Bt seeds or seedlings??
One of the reasons why farmers are able to get the seedlings or even seeds of Bt brinjal is that neighbouring Bangladesh has approved its cultivation so it is easy to procure the seeds.
Last year, a Haryana farmer was found growing Bt brinjal unaware that it was a transgenic crop.
The Fatehabad farmer reaped quality brinjals, which raised the eyebrows of a few NGOs. The NGOs made a global-positioning-system marking of his field and complained to government officials. The crop on his farm was then destroyed.
Since then, farmers have begun to insist that they should be allowed to grow plant and crop of their choice.
Views on Bt varieties :
Mayee's view“Farmers should not cultivate unauthorised seeds since it will harm them more. This will give rise to manufacturers of illegal and spurious seeds who cannot be held accountable"
“We welcome 5G technology in telecom but resist any technology advance in agriculture. Each political party has groups for and against technological development in agriculture. We need to provide our farmers with the latest technology,” said the SABC president. Retrieved from https://swarajyamag.com/economy/cultivation-of-unauthorised-bt-brinjal-htbt-cotton-gains-roots-across-the-nation-as-farmers-seek-new-technology