Says report prepared by a committee set up by Coalition for GM Free Karnataka Movement

A fact-finding report on Bt cotton crop has highlighted that growers who had sown Mahyco Bt Kanaka variety seeds suffered almost 100 per cent losses as the seed failed to yield, while other varieties of Bt cotton have also been affected.

The report prepared by a committee set up by Coalition for GM Free Karnataka Movement consisting of experts such as H.R. Prakash, progressive farmers, sociologists and leaders of Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha and Hasiru Sene and members of Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture, was released by KRRS president Kodihalli Chandrashekar here on Tuesday.

He later submitted a copy of the report to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.

The committee members carried out field studies in Haveri and Davangere districts for five days last month. They observed that Bt cotton taken up in 18,000 hectares in the two districts failed to yield.

Presenting the observations of the report to the media, Shivayogi Makri of Desi Krushikara Belaga and Manjunath Holalu, Co-Convener of Coalition for GM Free Karnataka said that there were 25 different brands of Bt cotton hybrids grown in Haveri and Davangere districts.

Of this, Bt cotton Kanaka variety of Mahyco, with stacked genes from Monsanto, was taken up in nearly 50 per cent of the area.

Bt cotton Kanaka variety was the worst affected from Mirid bug attack with almost the entire crop not bearing bolls.

The report further observed that the Agriculture Department had failed to respond to repeated warnings from studies by the University of Agricultural Sciences, Dharwad, and the Central Institute of Cotton Research, Nagpur.

Their reports, which came in 2007, had explicitly indicated the increasing incidence of sucking pests, especially Mirid bugs in Bt cotton in central Karnataka areas.

And, the Central Institute of Cotton Research study also pointed to MRC 7351 (Bt Kanaka) being highly susceptible to Mirid bug.

The fact-finding team also found that native cotton varieties such as Sahana grown under organic practices were not affected by Mirid bug and other sucking pests.

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