HYDERABAD: Bt cotton, which helped make India a net exporter of cotton from a net importer with a 75% jump in cotton exports being clocked between 2002 – 2009, has resulted in better yields, higher returns and improvements in livelihoods for farmers in Andhra Pradesh, according to the findings of a study.
The study titled ‘Socio-economic impact assessment of Bt cotton in India’ conducted by Council for Social Development and commissioned by the Bharat Krishak Samaj claims that ever since farmers in AP started cultivation of Bt cotton the area under cotton and average cotton productivity between 2002-2011 went up by 9.45% and 2.32% respectively.
Cultivation of hybrid Bt cotton seeds, which began in 2002-03, has seen the average income of farmers increasing by almost 575% with average net returns at Rs 64,113.96 per hectare and per hectare value of production has gone up by 79.45% per cent across Andhra Pradesh, even as pesticide consumption has declined to 0.15kg per hectare in post Bt cotton period of 2002-09 from 0.42kg per hectare in pre-Bt cotton period of 1996-2000, said the study.
The higher returns and increase in expenditure of health, education, intake of nutritious food and social needs improved standard of living of farmers using hybrid Bt cotton seeds in AP, the study released by BKS chairman Ajay Jakhar here on Tuesday showed.
AP constitutes 15% of the total area under cotton in the country with 17.07 lakh hectares between 2009-11. The area under Bt cotton in AP increased to 11.90 lakh hectares in 2007-08 from 75,000 hectares in 2004-05.
On an all-India level, the cultivation of hybrid Bt cotton seeds has seen the average income of farmers increasing by almost 375%, the average cotton yield by 4.95%, cotton area by 4.91% cent and production by 9.25% across India’s nine major cotton-growing states of Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat, the BKS-CSD study claims.
Over 1050 farmers and 300 agricultural labourers were surveyed across the country with inputs from secondary data sources like Ministry of Agriculture, Economic Survey, Government of India, USDA, UNCLAD and FAOSTAT for the purpose of the study.