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23.09.2018 |

India: Failed promises of GM Bt cotton

Stagnant yields, pest attacks and skyrocketing fertilizer use have beset India’s first commercialised GM crop. Claire Robinson reports

GM Bt cotton in India has brought stagnant yields, massive pest attacks, and increased agrochemical use, according to data presented at a conference.

GMO advocates often claim that GM Bt cotton was responsible for increased cotton yield in India. But while yield did increase for the first few years of Bt cotton introduction, this gain was not sustained.

And the data show that even this temporary gain was not due to Bt cotton. During the years when cotton yields grew, from 2002–2005, the percentage of Bt cotton in the total cotton crop was minuscule – below 6% at the all-India level. As the percentage of GM Bt cotton in the total cotton crop grew to over 90%, yields stagnated and even declined.

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