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Information about GMCotton

Published on January 25, 2008

Author: Manuele


Global Hunger:  Global Hunger 842 million people (1 person in 6) were undernourished in 1999/2001 798 million of these were in developing countries 70 per cent of them depend on agriculture for their livelihoods [FAO, 2003] so 560 million people working in agriculture in developing countries remain desperately poor: why? Lack of food?:  Lack of food? Total food production has increased: between 1970 and 2000, world population grew by 70 per cent, yet per capita food consumption increased by nearly 20 per cent [FAO, 2000] Poor people lack incomes to buy the food that is available Poverty kills! Could cotton provide needed income for some of these people? Does cotton raise more general issues? Cotton and the world trading system:  Cotton and the world trading system Concrete, specific example of how current trade rules keep poor people in poverty Relate this to our abstract understanding of the need for trade justice Use it in our campaigning around the G8 summit Importance of cotton:  Importance of cotton Livelihoods for rural people Livelihoods for craft workers (handlooms) Cultural significance Input to textile industry South Asia, East Africa, … Urban livelihoods Textile industry a key step to industrialisation Issues about GM cotton:  Issues about GM cotton A ‘solution’ from the private sector Most technologies for poor people come from public sector Would public sector do things differently? What does this say about the fashion for involving the private sector in development initiatives? Assessing GM cotton in India:  Assessing GM cotton in India Claims to do some very useful things: Raise farm incomes Reduce pesticide use Cotton accounts for more than half the pesticides used in India Benefits soil, water, human health In China, pesticides kill 500 farm workers each year Reduce losses to pests But: Does it work? Does it cause other problems? Possible risks of GM crops (e.g. cotton):  Possible risks of GM crops (e.g. cotton) Directly harmful product? No evidence of this (not even Greenpeace claims there is) Socio-economic (Monsanto monopoly) Credible risk (I think) Environmental consequences Would they be as bad as what happens now? Mass movement to organic production not realistic, Farmers can’t afford conversion; they can’t afford to pay Soil Association fees; merchants not ready to sort different kinds of cotton; difficult to promote organic methods We cannot know if they are reliable over a wide range of agro-environments Does GM cotton work?:  Does GM cotton work? Complicated question: Different cotton varieties are suitable for different climates (in different parts of India) and different methods of cultivation Inserting an extra gene into cotton of a particular variety does NOT change the conditions for which it is suitable. For example: JK’s range of (conventional) cotton varieties Slide9:  No1.Quality seeds    FAQ on Cotton Hybrids. What are the Cotton hybrids of JK Agri Genetics? Which hybrid variety is suited for light / medium / heavy soil? Which hybrid variety is suited for irrigated / rain fed areas? Which hybrid variety is fit for drought situation? Which hybrid variety is to grown for high rainfall area / low rainfall area? Which hybrid is pest tolerant? How many sprays are required? What will be commercial price for your hybrids? What is the right time of sowing? Which is suited for early / medium / late sowing? Which will give the highest yield under rain fed / irrigated condition? Which is the hybrid good for staple, yield and price? Which are the early / medium / long duration hybrids? What are the features of each of the hybrids? Slide10:  Question. Which hybrid variety is suited for light / medium / heavy soil? Answer : Light soils         : JK 555, JK 333, JK DURGA AND JK 9 Medium soils    : JK 666, JK durga, JK 99, JK Indra Heavy soils       : JK 99, JK 666 ,JK Durga, JK Indra etc., In very heavy soils early sowing and wider spacing are recommended.   FAQ >> Cotton Hybrids FAQ Question. Which hybrid is to grown for high rainfall / low rainfall areas? Answer : High rainfall area    : JK 99, JK 666, JK Durga, JK Indra Low rainfall area     : JK 555, JK Durga, JK 9, JK 333 Monsanto and GM cotton in India:  Monsanto and GM cotton in India Monsanto ‘licenses’ its insecticide gene to c19 different India seed companies Each company can then introduce the gene into its own cotton varieties Many different kinds of GM cotton are now on the market PERFORMANCE OF BT COTTON IN ANDHRA PRADESH 2004- 2005   Field Data reported by GENE CAMPAIGN 17 March 2005  PERFORMANCE OF BT COTTON IN ANDHRA PRADESH 2004- 2005   Field Data reported by GENE CAMPAIGN 17 March 2005 Net Income from Bt cotton (Rupees/Acre) Varieties Yield Price Output/Acre Input Cost Net Profit Qnt./Acre Rs./Qnt. (Rupees) (Rupees) (Rupees) Non-Bt Cotton 9 1700.00 15,300.00 6700 +8,600 RCH-2 Bt 11 1700.00 18,700.00 6850 +11,850 MECH-12, 184 Bt 3 800.00 2,400.00 6800 - 4,200 Notes (from Gene Campaign) :  Notes (from Gene Campaign) RCH-2 is a Bt cotton variety belonging to the Rasi Seed Company. It shows the best performance of the Bt. cotton varieties this year. Rasi RCH-2 yields are about four times higher than the Monsanto cottons Mech -12 and Mech 184. The disadvantage is that the entire yield is available only in two pickings and the variety is particularly vulnerable to sucking pests. During a bad sucking pest attack, which is quite a usual feature, the entire crop could be lost. RCH-2 is not a vigorous plant and its branches are weak and break easily. This will create additional problems. Cotton traders observe that all Bt varieties have poorer quality fiber compared to non-Bt varieties. Apparently, introducing the Bt gene exercises a negative effect on fiber quality.  The study shows that pesticide use in non- Bt varieties is higher not because of greater vulnerability to bollworm but because the cotton has to be harvested over a larger number (5-6) of pickings so pesticide has to be sprayed till all the cotton is harvested, increasing the cost. The pesticide saving in RCH- 2 is because all the cotton is collected in 2 pickings , thus reducing pesticide cost. Slide14:  The story of cotton illustrates the need for trade justice GM cotton raises many issues about technology-based solutions to poor peoples’ problems Technology promises to do several useful things, but in practice may not work for the poor Continuing need for the public sector to invest in effective technologies that work for poor people, e.g. reliable Biological Pest Control Importance of DFID’s Plant Science Programme Should it work on GM?

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