Cotton production has increased by over 9% with the use hybrid Bt cotton seeds, helping the country become net exporter of the cash-rich crop, a field study has found.
The study on 'socio-economic impact assessment of Bt cotton in India' has highlighted that area under cotton has increased by 4.91% in the last 10 years.
The survey was done in nine-cotton growing states of Maharashtra, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat.
It was jointly conducted by a research institute 'Council for Social Development' and 'Bharat Krishak Samaj', a farmers organisation.
Launching the report here on Thursday, Ajay Jakhar, chairman of Bharat Krishak Samaj, said the report highlights that high yielding hybrid Bt cotton seeds, lower pesticide use and better prices have helped cotton farmers get better productivity and in turn higher returns.
He dismissed that use of hybrid cotton seeds have lowered productivity of the cash crop triggering farmer suicides and said these had occurred due to lack of irrigation facilities, non-availability of timely credit and fluctuating cotton prices over the years.
Jakhar said the study pointed out that cotton export trend has increased significantly to above 75% between 2002-2009 due to use of hybrid Bt cotton seeds. "Thus, the advent of Bt cotton has changed India from a net importer of the crop into a net export of cotton," he added.
While sharing the findings of the study, T Haque of Council for Social Development said, "It is evident from the study that hybrid cotton technology is scale-neutral."
It has also came to light that expenditure on pesticides on hybrid Bt cotton had reduced over the years, he added.