GM Endorsements

GM Technology Supports Biodiversity: Tiger Conservationist Ullas Karanth

To me science is accumulation of knowledge. I find it very strange that GM is being criticized although all the national academies of science including Europe’s have endorsed GM. We had the same situation in the climate change scenario. Over time as evidence built up that climate threat is real, scientists shifted positions. There is always a dichotomy in science. Nobody agrees at the first point. But gradually scientific consensus builds up and then it becomes mainstream knowledge. It is strange that the people who accept the same academies of science, the same peer-reviewed process of generating science do not accept GM which has been endorsed by the same institutions.
Some of the best specialists on plant biodiversity, like Sir Robert May (professor in the department of zoology at Oxford University and former scientific adviser to the UK government) who is probably the greatest living ecologist and Peter Raven, director of the Missouri Botanical Garden and one of the greatest specialists on biodiversity have endorsed GM precisely for this reason.
The Green Revolution pumped the earth with pesticides which killed birds. GM technology allows us to withdraw from this. We had to use those destructive technologies at one time to increase food production. Here is a technology that allows us to scale down the use of pesticides.

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

Y 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

F Basavaraj Rudagi, 48, did not grow cotton before 2008. This farmer from Saundhi village in Dharwad district’s Kundogol taluk made a partial switch to Bt cotton as chilly was susceptible to pest attack and yield was declining. From five acres in 2009, Rudagi had fifteen of a forty acre joint farm under cotton this year, when smartindianagriculture  caught up with him in February. He tried out Bayer in a change from Mahyco and Raasi seed. Rudagi says he got 11.5 quintals (100 kg) an acre from his rain-fed crop and at Rs 4,050 a quintal, his realization was a little over Rs 46,000. The cost, he says, is Rs 26,000 an acre, excluding rental earnings had he leased out the land. This does not mesh with the profit he claims he makes, but then he admits to not keeping crop-wise accounts. Rudagi also grows peanuts, coriander, gram, safflower and jowar. There is safety in diversity. And yes he plants pigeon pea or tur around the cotton crop for bollworms to feed on so they are not forced by the survival instinct to develop resistance to Bt protein.  In this sense he is quite a cut apart. Low cotton prices are worrying but what is the alternative?