INDIA: Agriculture ministry acknowledges rise in Bt cotton acreage

NEW DELHI: The agriculture ministry, by acknowledging rise in Bt cotton acreage, has informed that government has no plans of banning the genetically modified crops including Bt cotton.

The announcement which is made by minister of state for agriculture, Kanti Lal Bhuria is expected to provide major relief to the Bt cotton farmers.

The farmers are entitled to grow the transgenic crop on a commercial basis as in India only genetically modified cotton has been approved by the designated authority, Genetic Engineering Approval Committee.

The minister further clarified that government is not contemplating any ban or formulation of any policy on GM crops even as advanced countries like US and others reportedly had some reservations.

The area under cultivation of Bt cotton rose by 154 percent to 30.84 lakh acres in 2005 from 12.13 lakh acres in 2004; whereas the impressive increase in Bt cotton acreage was fuelled by substantial acreage increase in major producing states of Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh.

Maharashtra witnessed the maximum growth in Bt acreage, which went up by almost 206 percent to 12.20 lakh acres from 3.99 lakh acres during the review period.

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Added: December 5, 2006 Source: Agencies
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