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Farmers Union Will Sell Banned HTBT Cotton Seed on 5th January 2020

In the current Kharif season i.e. 2018-19, around 88.27% of the 122.38 lakh ha cotton area is under Bt cotton. Over the past sixteen years, the Bt cotton technology has retained its ability to manage all bollworm diseases except the pink bollworm.

All key cotton growing States have been asked to take stringent measures like filing of FIRs, seizure of stocks & issuance of show-cause notices to control the spread of HTBT cotton.

“Growers are anyway are using HTBT. With our movement against the ban on GM crops, more and more cultivators will come forward & use it. We want to sow HTBT cotton openly,” told Anil Ghanwat, President of the Shetkari Sanghatana, which earlier this week led a protest by farmers who sowed HTBT cotton seeds in Maharashtra’s Akoli Jahagir village.

Farmers' union - Shetkari Sanghatana, will be marking the New Year by breaking the rule. On 5th January 2020, members of the union will meet at a farm near Yavatmal city & distribute the illegally harvested second-generation Herbicide Tolerant BT (HTBT) cotton seeds.

Illegal planting of HTBT seeds is an offence under the Environment Protection Act and the Seeds Act.

The union has been spearheading a movement for getting faster approval of the HTBT cotton seeds. In May, it broke the law, and freely distributed the illegal seeds, so that the farm expenditure gets reduced.

Chief of Shetkari Sanghatana’s Technology Cell, Ajit Narde, informed the media that the second-generation seeds have almost the same traits as the first-generation HTBT, which are with the farmers already. He said these (second-generation HTBT) seeds would be distributed again to other farmers so that pressure builds upon the Centre to legalise HTBT.

Narde said that for the last 10 years the approval of HTBT seeds has been stalled for various reasons. Indian farmers have to face global market, therefore a higher cotton productivity is the need of the hour.

In the past 15 years, Maharashtra’s Yavatmal district has seen the highest number of suicides by cotton farmers because of crop losses.

Shetkari Sanghatana that was founded in 1979 by ex- civil servant Sharad Joshi, has stressed that farmers must have the freedom to access to markets and technology.



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