The Rythu Rakshana Vedika, which brought together a group of nearly 200 farmers to form the District Cotton Growers’ Mutually Aided Cooperative Society, organised a visit for agricultural scientists to the fields on which non-Bt cotton was grown successfully on an experimental basis at Gottipadu village here on Thursday.

Acharya N.G. Ranga Agricultural University principal scientist (cotton) V. Chenga Reddy and G.M.V. Prasada Rao of Regional Agricultural Research Station, Lam, led the team of scientists, who had a first-hand account of the efficacy of non-Bt cotton varieties compared to hybrids that were being aggressively marketed by the MNCs.

They appreciated the initiative taken by the society for bringing back the glory of public-funded research extension to the fields and promised to contribute their share for breaking the monopoly of some cotton seed companies.

Nearly 70 farmers, who are actively promoting non-Bt cotton in and around Prathipadu, participated in the programme. They told the scientists that 8-9 per cent of the seed cost could be reduced by self-produced seed with the savings per acre standing at not less than Rs.6,000. Society promoters N. Venugopala Rao and K. Raja Mohan, and Ch. Parameswara Reddy, an expert in seed science, participated in the programme.