Crop Biotech Update

COP-MOP6 Delegates Visit Small Bt Cotton Farmers in India

October 10, 2012

"I can't grow cotton crop if not for Bt cotton," said M. Mohammad Habibuddin, a small cotton farmer who led a group of 40 small cotton farmers who met with delegates of 16 countries visiting his 1 acre of Bt cotton field in the outskirt of his village Hussainpur of Shankarpalli Mandal, Ranga Reddy District of Andhra Pradesh, India on 3 October 2012. The COP-MOP6 delegates, many of whom visited a cotton field for the first time, interacted with small farmers who have been planting for seven consecutive years. The 34 delegates included senior government officials from Brazil, Canada, Switzerland, Japan, Korea, China, Philippines, Indonesia, Iran, Kuwait, Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Burkina Faso, Uganda, and India.

Habibuddin and other farmers cultivate Bt cotton in areas ranging from less than one acre to 60 acres. He was one of the pioneers to try Bt cotton and seeing the yield, his neighbors adopted the technology as well. Habibuddin added that all farmers in their neighborhood were reaping a good harvest since they planted Bt cotton. "We harvest 12 to 15 quintals of cotton per acre from Bt cotton field significantly higher than 7-8 quintals harvested in the past with non-Bt cotton hybrids."

The trip to Bt cotton farmers field was organized by the Public Research and Regulation Initiative, International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications, and the International Food Policy Research Institute' Program for Biosafety Systems as a part of public sector initiative to familiarize international government delegates with small farmers growing Bt cotton. The visit was also attended by local and international media professionals.

The full article will we available in a forthcoming issue of Petri Dish, a monthly publication of the Malaysian Biotechnology Information Center (MABIC). Check the MABIC website at http://www.bic.org.my/.