‘Don’t tamper with Jayadhar cotton’

Jayadhar cotton, for which the University of Agricultural Sciences-Dharwad received permission for transgenic trials last Friday, is a popular variety in the rain-fed areas of north Karnataka.

It is a rabi crop predominantly grown in Dharwad, Gadag and Haveri districts, and parts of Bellary and Koppal. Unlike other varieties, it is a mixed crop grown with chillies and onion, among other crops. The drought resistant Jayadhar was an improved variety released in the 50s. It saw further improvement when EDHC-11 and RAHS-4 varieties were released by the UAS-D later. Though other local varieties have been improved upon, Jayadhar remains popular among farmers.

“Farmers hardly use pesticides on this crop. Any changes in the crop will also have its effect on the weaving/khadi community in the vicinity,” said Krishnaprasad, convenor of Desi Cotton Growers’ Association. All the improvements in Jayadhar were to stabilise its characteristics and not cross-breeding, he pointed out.

“It has all the qualities to get the geographical indications (GI) tag. It should be preserved as the local variety and without causing gene contamination. Currently, indigenous varieties cover only 3 per cent of the total cultivated area,” said Mr. Krishnaprasad, fearing that the trials and introduction to the market could damage other indigenous varieties.

“Since Jayadhar is a local variety of Karnataka, the State government should deny a no objection certificate. Further, it should oppose permission given by Genetic Engineering Approval Committee to conduct trials in other states (Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra),” he added.

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Printable version | Oct 7, 2022 6:38:48 pm |