New Delhi: Adoption of BT II cotton technology by farmers engaged in cotton cultivation has allowed them to save Rs 1600 on use of pesticides on their one hectare of farm land against farmers who grow cotton with conventional hybrids, according to a study conducted by Assocham on ‘BT Cotton Farming in India.’
Pesticide consumption by BT II farmers on their one hectare of farm land is estimated at Rs 1300 as against Rs 2900 per hectare by farmers growing conventional hybrids in nine cotton growing states, namely Andhra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan.
The study is based on the latest survey of 5981 farmers from 111 taluks of 37 districts including 4188 BT and BT II cotton farmers and 1793 conventional cotton farmers in nine cotton growing states. However it also highlights that BT 1 farmers spend Rs 2000 per hectare on pesticides on their one acre farm land. Also BT 1 technology is supposed to be slightly second rate as against BT 2 technology.
Benefits of BT
The cost benefits of BT cotton use over conventional methods of cotton include BT seed costs which are 2.5 times over conventional methods and total pesticide spend is 1.46 times higher for conventional over BT 2.27 times pesticide spend on bollworms in conventional over BT. 4.1 spryas per acre less number of sprays for bollworms required for BT 1.59 times pesticides spends on Spodoptera in conventional over BT II, two sprays per acre less number of sprays for Spodoptera required for BT II, 50% higher average yield (quintal/acre) in BT and Rs 7757 (162%) higher profits for BT farmers”.
Incremental benefits of BT over conventional cotton in 2006 has been that net revenue per acre was Rs 7757 higher. Percentage of gross revenue benefit was up by 162. Reduction in number of sprays against bollworm by 4.6 times and total reduction in pesticides spend on an average was Rs 934 per acre and reduction in pesticides spend in percentage terms by 32.
According to Mr Anil Agarwal, past president, Assocham, this would lead to a much better life for the average Indian cotton farmer. While the technology takes care of on-field tensions of farmers, the farmer now has enough time to think and plan for his children’s education. The increased income will be a ready source for farmers to get away from clutches of debt. On an average, 93% of BT users are satisfied with BT performance. As a cotton seed category, it enjoys 70% recall amongst farmers.
The study highlights that farmers who planted BT cotton, i.e. BT and BT II in 2006 earned an additional Rs 7039 crore in income, based on 8.77 million acreage penetration achieved during this crop season. This increase in acreage and number of farmers adopting BT is a testament to the continuing success and acceptance of the technology in India.
Advantages that BT villages had over non BT villages
* 50% higher yield increase in BT fields in 2006 as compared with conventional cotton fields.
* In economic infrastructure and economic activity, BT villages are clearly ahead when compared with NonBT areas in terms of presence of permanent markets (44% in Bt villages vs. 35% in non-Bt villages), greater penetration of shops (24% vs. 18%), banking (34% vs. 28%), telecom and internet.
* Impacts of BT farming on members of a BT household were found to have been positive on many fronts especially for women and children.
* Women belonging to BT households availed of maternal services like antenatal checkups in larger percentages than the corresponding women from non-BT households. The same was true for the case trained assistance at birth when the birth took place at the husband’s home (the most common location of deliveries) (15% vs. 13%).
* Clear progress was visible on the immunization front among the BT predominant households. Children from BT predominant households (67%) had higher levels of immunization compared to children belonging to non-BT households (62%).
* Regarding education, children belonging to BT farming households showed significantly higher enrollment compared to their non-BT counterparts in 5 out of 8 surveyed states.