The Amity Institute of Neem Production, Research and Studies in collaboration with Planning Commission and MONSANTO India Ltd. organized a one-day seminar on “Scientific and Social Impact of Bt Cotton on Farmers“ on 10 December, 2007 at B- Block, Amity University Campus, Sector-125,Noida.
Theme of the Seminar
Bt cotton incorporating the new transgenic technology is looked upon both as a boon and a bane. It has found its way in many cotton producing countries and farmers are reaping benefit from growing BT-cotton. At the same time Bt-cotton has generated controversies in many places. Many groups have questioned the safety and legality of the introduction of Bt cotton while others have resorted to direct action, uprooting and burning transgenic cotton crops in the fields because of suicide committed by small and marginal farmers. Therefore, a balanced approach is required to develop a strategy considering all these related issues.
Dr. Sunil Saran,Vice Chairman, AST &IF in his welcome address he pointed out the importance and adoption of biotechnology. He informed the in 2000 especially cotton biotech caught fire. In 2003/4 nine countries planted biotech cotton and produced 30% of world production. This technology has much new prospects in future despite of its high modified seed but still has many controversies. He said these controversies should be answered, doubts should be removed with open mind. He also emphasized upon the contribution of Dr. M. S. Swaminathan world’s renowned Scientist in the area of food security.
Dr.C.D.Mayee, Chairman, Agricultural Scientists Recruitment Board, ICAR, was the Chief Guest.
Dr. James James Jennings, Team Leader, Cotton & Specialty Crops, US Biotech Regulatory Affairs, Monsanto Company USA, and Dr. T.P.Trivedi, Project Director, Directorate of Information & Publications of Agriculture, ICAR, were Guests of honours.
Dr. James has elaborated the scientific and socio-economic aspects of Bt- cotton. According to him 100 million hectare of the world is cultivated land for Bt cotton. Bt cotton technology is environmentally and economically viable. He also gave the details of Countries accepted Biotech Crops and their commercialization. These crops bring benefits to growers because it has greater productivity and higher economic returns.
In the inaugural session, Mr Rajan D.Kapoor, Regulatory Lead, South Asia, Monsanto India Ltd, the Key Note Speaker, has given emphasis on the Bt technology. He also said socio-economic studies were carried out extensively to establish the Bt technology. This environmentally safe technology is for the yield saving not for loss. In India 1500 farmers are cultivating Bt cotton. He requested Amity should carry a study on socio-economic aspect; Monsanto would take care of financing the study.
Dr. Trivedi emphasized upon the role of media and information departments. He said due to poor media performances information could not reach to the farmers properly. He also blamed poor publicity which is very much required component to attract the farmers in a right way. There should proper tools and mode of communication to provide the information.
Dr. Mayee, in his inaugural speech gave brief about the success of hybrid crops. Hybrids were not accepted on its first appearance. According to him micro-organism can not deteriorated food, it id food that deteriorated technology. He appreciated the controversies especially in the area of Biotechnology. These are necessary for the healthy scientific perspectives. No land has similar quality, no problem is also similar, but they should be mitigated with open mind discussion. It is advisable not to compare Bt cotton of Madya Pradesh with Bt Cotton of Rajasthan. Earlier why farmers were not getting proper remuneration because there was a lack of total control of technology in ag