Agri-biotechnology

By NITI Aayog’s Criterion, GM Mustard is Fit for Release for Cultivation by Farmers

NITI Aayog's Vice-Chairman Arvind Panagariya at the release of the Three-Year Action Agenda on 24 August, 2017.  Photo courtesy PIB.

The Three-Year Action Plan of NITI Aayog calls for marketing reforms in agriculture, measures to make minimum support prices effective, steps to improve productivity and changes in tenancy laws so farmers can legally lease out their plots without fear of losing title. It recognizes the importance of technology and supports genetic modification (GM) of crops. To overcome political opposition to GM crops, it offers a solution which is less than neat, but wise under the circumstances. Here is a verbatim extract on technology from the document.

Genetically modified (GM) seeds have emerged as a powerful new technology promising high productivity, improved quality and lower use of fertilizers, weedicides and pesticides in the last one to two decades. They have also gained increasing acceptance among farmers around the world. Indian farmers also enthusiastically embraced these seeds in the only crop in which they have been permitted so far: cotton. There is some concern that GM seeds can be monopolized by multinationals, which may then exploit our farmers. But this concern is readily addressed by limiting GM seeds to those varieties discovered by our own institutions and companies.

(Arvind Panagariya speaking at the release of NITI Aayog’s Three-Year Action Agenda on 24 August, 2017.  Photo courtesy PIB).

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I Do Not Understand Bt Cotton technology; I Know It Works

Kallanagouda PatilY Kallanagouda Patil, 46, of Uppinbetegeri village in Dharwad taluk  owns 52 acres jointly with his three brothers. He holds a diploma in agriculture from a school in Raichur. Patil grows cotton on ten acres, apart from sugarcane, potato, Bengal gram, jowar, tur,moong and vegetables. He uses groundwater to irrigate his fields. The water is drawn from a depth of 280 feet. Electricity is free so he flood irrigates the fields, except the one under banana  where he uses drip irrigation. He does not micro-irrigate cotton because it is closely planted and has to make way for another crop after eight months. This farmer has his cost all worked out. Making quick mental calculations, he estimates the cost of cotton crop at Rs 22,500 an acre and the realization from 17 quintals an acre at Rs 68,000. He had planted Bayer seed. ‘I do not understand technology, he says, all I know is if I use Bt seed there will be no

Pests Snack on Chilly But Not Cotton

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