Ryots sow seeds of defiance

Blame Centre for not approving next generation of GM cotton.

Updated - June 11, 2019 07:46 am IST

Published - June 10, 2019 10:24 pm IST - AKOT

Hundreds of farmers on Monday joined in, what they called, a ‘civil disobedience’ movement to protest the Centre’s indecisiveness in approving the next generation of genetically modified (GM) cotton. As a mark of protest, farmer leader Lalit Patil-Bahale sowed the seeds of the ‘illegal’ herbicide tolerant (HT) Bt cotton and Bt Brinjal in his own field at Akot in Akola district of Maharashtrta.

The open defiance of law was organised by Shetkari Sanghatana (SS), a farmers’ organisation and an advocate of open market in the field of agriculture. “We should be getting the newest of technologies available in the market for agriculture,” said Mr. Patil-Bahale.

The issue has gained momentum in the wake of Haryana government accusing two farmers of illegally growing genetically modified brinjal and destroying their crops.

The outbreak of pink bollworm in Maharashtra three years ago despite farmers using BG-2, Monsanto’s second generational insecticidal technology for cotton, is being blamed by the SS on Indian government’s ban on testing further enhanced version of the seed.

Akola district collector Jitendra Papalkar told The Hindu that the farmers’ body has committed an illegal act. “We have sent a team of agriculture officers and will be seeking the report from them, following which necessary action would be taken,” he said.

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