Biotech (Bt) crop technology has more than doubled India’s cotton production, a government report card said today, calling for more such revolutions. “By 2011-12, almost 90 per cent of cotton area is covered under Bt cotton and production has more than doubled. … more such revolutions to accelerate agri-growth are needed,” said the State of Indian Agriculture 2011-2012.
Cotton crop yields have gone up almost 70 per cent and export potential for more than Rs 10,000 crore worth of raw cotton has been created, it said.
The government has put a moratorium on commercial release of Bt brinjal due to opposition from several quarters. On biotech crops, the report said the potential loss of production due to non-introduction of transgenics “has to be carefully balanced against the dangers that transgenics may pose to ecology.”
“However, if a crop is safe for environmental release and beneficial to the farmers, such transgenics may need to be taken up in order to ensure that food security in the country is achieved and maintained.”
Stating the seed is considered to be a catalyst of change in agriculture, the report said that high yielding seeds are increasingly coming from the private sector in selected crops.
The report suggested improving policies and legislation for variety development, enactment of flexible variety release legislation, revitalising public sector and supporting the emergence of local, private sector seed enterprises among others.