Bt cotton in India, pesticide use and environmental impact in India

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Abstract or Summary

Cotton is one of the principal commercial crops of the country. More than seventy countries in the world cultivate cotton. Cotton production is crucial as the whole spectrum of textile sector depends on it. Further, the export performance of textile sector is also depends on the quality of cotton produced. To put it straight cotton plays an important role in terms of generating direct and indirect employment as well as earning foreign exchange. Over the years, the production of cotton in India has been reduced due to the pest attack. The main pest is cotton bollworm. To control the pest incidence, the farmers have applied more than recommended levels of pesticides. This has escalated the cost of cultivation and many farmers fell in to the debt trap. This has led to suicides of cotton farmers in the states like Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Orissa. In this context, it is advocated that Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is the best tool for minimizing the risk and problems in cotton cultivation. Further, inventions of cotton varieties that resist pest attach. One such technological breakthrough has been Bt cotton. The innovation in bio- technology in the form of Bt cotton controls the bollworms which has now occupied the centre stage.

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