Friday, May 23, 2014

I have covered several storieson Bt cottoncultivation in Bolangir .Posting here it for perusal of all -By Sudhir Mishra/Bolangir



BUBANESWAR | Friday, May 27, 2011 | Email | Print |  | Back 


Farmers’ interest in Bt cotton growing in Balangir
May 27, 2011   7:17:39 AM

Sudhir Mishra | Balangir





                                                                                                                                                        
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Encouraged by the minimum support price (MSP) per quintal of
cotton given to the farmers in Balangir district last year, this year cotton cultivation has been taken up in 30,000 hectares. But farmers seem to be taking more interest in Bt cotton as a hype is doing round that the variety is highly remunerative and immune to pest attack even as the crop is banned here.

Cotton is a 150-160 day crop grown mostly in Patnagarh, Belpada, Khaprakhol, Tureikela, Muribahal, Saintala and Bongomunda areas in the district. Last year, the coverage of the cotton cultivation was 29,200 hectares. The ideal time for the sowing of cotton is from the second week of June to June last or first week of July. The unique advantage of cotton of Balangir district is its staple length. It is more than 30mm and is considered as organic.

We have earlier convened a meeting of company officials to supply the required seed to the farmers and they have agreed, said an official of the district Agriculture Department. The approved variety
cotton seeds are Gabar, Bunny and Tulsi, he informed.

Even as the officials here do not acknowledge the fact that
Bt cotton has invaded into cotton cultivation of the district publicly, it is almost an open secret. The seed dealers and seller have induced a wrong conception that Bt cotton is free from pest attack though it is susceptible to sucking pests like Jassids, Aphids, Mealy bug, among others.

“We have all along advised the farmers not to go for
Bt cotton in view of rain fed condition of the district and once the rain fails, the crop fails worsening the economic conditions of farmers,” said SMS cotton K Murmu.

Reports indicate that the price of
Bt cotton in Andhra Pradesh has been raised this year by the Andhra Pradesh Government. According to reports, the price of Bt cotton — I has been raised from `650 to `830 per a 450 gram pack while the price of Bt cotton-II pack has been raised from `750 to `930.

Due to growing demand of
cotton in international market, last year even the last plucking of cotton fetched more than `3,000 per quintal. Seeing the remunerative price, farmers are showing increasing interest in the crop, especially Bt cotton this time.

With no official mechanism to check it, it is the unscrupulous traders and company officials who are selling the
Bt cotton seeds clandestinely at high prices in the local markets. 
SudhirMishra
Journalist
The Pioneer
Balangir(Odisha)
94374-30812
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Bhubaneswar Will B’ngir farmers get enough Bt cotton seeds this year? Will B’ngir farmers get enough Bt cotton seeds this year?
May 11, 2012 at 4:57am
Bhubaneswar  Will B’ngir farmers get enough Bt cotton seeds this year?
Will B’ngir farmers get enough Bt cotton seeds this year?
THURSDAY, 10 MAY 2012 22:34
SUDHIR MISHRA | BALANGIR
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Only one hybrid cotton seed dealer of the district turned up in the meeting held on April 19 last to ensure the supply hybrid cotton seed to the farmers this year, which makes it amply clear that the farmers would not get seeds adequately and go for the banned BT cotton cultivation in Balangir district.
Before the commencement of the cotton cultivation season, we convened a meeting of all seed dealers/company representatives of approved hybrid variety cotton and told them to keep the seed ready for forthcoming season. We issued letters to the seed dealers/company representatives in April, but none turned up except one, pointed out an official here.
According to official sources, the area under cotton cultivation in the district is increasing steadily from 19,409 hectares in 2009-10 to 35,330 hectares in 2011-12.
This year the target for cotton cultivation in Balangir district is 34,200 hectares. We require around 85,500 packets of cotton seeds for our district as per acre usually one packet of cotton seed is required, said an official.
The Government lacks clear cut policy to ensure seed to farmers and it should make necessary arrangement so that the farmers would get the seed easily and monopoly of seed companies be ended, said Jati Pradhan, an activist. The absence of seed dealer in the meeting would make it easier for the entry of Bt cotton, he said.
Bt Cotton, which is a Genetically Modified (GM) seed, has been banned in Odisha but it has caught the craze of Balangir farmers in last few years. Unmindful of ecological consequences of the BT cotton cultivation on soil and its surrounding and notwithstanding of the high cost of the cultivation, the farmers are taking it up for farming in a big way, said sources.
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Monday, December 10, 2012

Bt cottonnews in the Pioneer .Balangir farmers hit hard asBt cotton crop fails

Sudhirmishrabolangir.blogspot.com
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Monday, 24 December 2012 23:20
SUDHIR MISHRA | BALANGIR
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In a surprising revelation, rather than the widely known American cotton, a new variety of Egyptian cotton (Hirsutum barbadense) was cultivated in Balangir district this year much to the surprise of many.
The cotton species is not suitable to the local soil and climate. It is a long duration variety Bt cotton and requires more irrigation, said officials.
Following publication of the a news in The Pioneer headlined ‘Balangir farmers hit hard as Bt Cotton fails’, a team of agriculture officials and experts of the All India Coordinated Cotton Improvement Project, Bhawanipatna including Dr R Patnaik, Deputy Director of Agriculture (DDA) Balangir Manoranjan Mallick and others visited the cotton fields of the farmers of Rengali village on December 12 last and interacted with the farmers. The farmers of Manupali village were also present. A total of around 60 acres of cotton in Rengali and Manupali have been affected.
During the discussion, it was found that the farmers had taken up the Egyptian cotton variety after purchasing the seeds from an unapproved dealer. As the seed variety was not suitable, the crop failed.
Farmers should not go for the cultivation of unapproved variety of cotton. More details about this would be known once the scientific team gives its report, says Deputy Director of Agriculture Balangir Mallick.
“Whenever the farmers are purchasing seeds, they should purchase only from licenced seed traders and get proper bill from them. In Odisha, the Directorate of Agriculture is not recommending the cultivation of Bt Cotton. The farmers, who suffered loss, should have intimated about the cultivation of seed variety to authorities, earlier. As the farmers have suffered a loss, they should move against the seed company for compensation under the Consumer Protection Act,” says Director of Agriculture RS Gopalan.
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COTTON SEED SCARCITY HAUNTS FARMERS IN BALANGIR
Monday, 13 May 2013 | PNS | BALANGIR | in Bhubaneswar
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Even as farmers of Balangir faced great losses by cultivating banned and untested variety Bt cotton last year, the spectre of Bt cotton seeds entering once again into the district is looming large in view of huge shortages of cotton seeds this year.
“This year, we have taken up cotton cultivation in 41,000 hectares of land in the district and the seed requirement is 1,02,500 packets. A seed dealers’ meeting was held on May 8 which only five dealers attended and expressed ability to provide only 45,500 packets of seeds. So, there is a huge shortage of cotton seeds this year,” said Balangir Deputy Director of Agriculture Manoranjan Mallick, adding, “We have informed the situation to higher authorities.”
With such a projected scarcity of cotton seeds, it would provide enough opportunities for unscrupulous traders to sell the BT cotton in the district through clandestine mechanism
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Genetically modified crops making backdoor entry into Orissa

Pioneer News Service | Bhubaneswar

The State Government has declared the
cultivation of Bt Cotton to be illegal in a press release of the Directorate of Agriculture and Food Production. A memo issued by the Chief Minister's Office has declared that cultivation of Bt Cotton should be discouraged.

The Agriculture Minister has stated in the floor of the Assembly on June 22, 07 that he will not allow GM crops into the State. He has also stated his resolve to keep Orissa GM free in a filmed interview.

But all these assertions by the topmost agriculture policy makers of the State have not stopped the illegal cultivation of Bt Cotton in Orissa. In vast stretches of land in the cotton belts of Rayagada, Kalahandi and Bolangir, Bt Cotton is being cultivated illegally. In reply to an RTI filed to know the acreage under Bt Cotton cultivation the Government has said, "Since Government of Orissa has discouraged cultivation of BT Cotton in the State, the area under the same may be treated as nil." Thus no records have been kept of this gross violation of Government directives.

This seems to be a covert move by the GM seed manufacturers to introduce Bt Cotton and other GM crops into the State. The strategy is not new. The general trend is to first contaminate and then legalise citing that "No adverse effects have been recorded." Agriculture institutions in the State have carried out field trials of various Bt Cotton varieties since Kharif 2002-03 without the mandatory approval of the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC). Since 2005-06 approval of DBT has been taken. This has been revealed by reply to RTI. More such field trials are on the offing as revealed by a reply to the RTI where a proposal for the field trial of Bt Cotton in Bhawanipatna for 2008-09 has been admitted.

What will be the consequences of such blatant irregularities? As per M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF), one of the agro-biodiversity hotspots is the Jeypore tract in Orissa, known to be a secondary centre of origin of rice. The MSSRF has advised protecting the biodiversity of such zones from genetic pollution that is inevitable fallout of the GM crops. Orissa is also home to a wide variety of traditional eggplants, as stressed by OUAT vice-chancellor at a recent discussion.

A Task Force Report of the Department of Agriculture & Cooperation under the Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India states, "Biotechnology provides an opportunity to convert bio-resources into economic wealth. This has to be done in a manner that there is no adverse impact either on the environment or on human and animal health. The bottom line of our national agricultural biotechnology policy should be the economic well-being of farm families, food security of the nation, health security of the consumer, protection of the environment and the security of our national and international trade in farm commodities. Recommendations of the Task Force are based on these considerations."

The Report further warns, "Since there is public, political and professional concern about transgenics with reference to their short and long term impacts on human health and the environment, their testing, evaluation and approval have to be stringent, elaborate and science-based."

The experience with Bt Cotton in five other States in India where it is legal has shown that all the apprehensions about GM crops are not imaginary but real. There is nothing to show that the same sequence of events that have plagued the cotton farmers in those States into abject poverty and indebtedness will not be repeated in Orissa.
8/1/08
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