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India


Alarm over widespread boll worm attack on Bt cotton crop in Vidarbha, Marathwada

Alarm over widespread boll worm attack on Bt cotton crop in Vidarbha, Marathwada

New Delhi, Nov 13 (UNI) Panic has spread among Vidarbha and Marathwada cotton growers over widespread boll worm attack on the standing genetically modified Bt cotton crop with nearly 50 per cent crop threatened. Initial estimates expect the loss to be in the range of Rs 10,000 crore.

Already reeling under pesticide spraying poisoning crisis, farmers in Vidarbha and Marathwada districts are battling pink boll worm and other pests attacks on standing cotton, soybean and pulses crop.

Speaking to the UNI, an official of the state-run task force on farmers’ distress said the pink boll worm attack was “unprecedented”.

He said the farmers were seeking compensation from the variety of seed companies who sold Bt cotton seeds to farmers. More than 100 companies are active in the region for selling Bt cotton seeds.

Over the years pink boll worm in cotton plants developed resistance to Monsanto-Mahyco’s Bt cotton (Bollgard I) seed, forcing the company to come up with Bollgard II in 2010.

Mahyco seed company maintains that farmers must plant a refuge in between two Bt cotton fields for Insect Resistance Management.

“How can anyone expect farmers small and marginal with 2 hectares of land to plant a refuge in between two Bt cotton fields?’’ a cotton farmer from Nagpur, told the UNI. Refuge is a block or strip of non-Bt cotton seed crop between two Bt cotton fields.

The two benefits of Bt cotton were that it controlled boll worm due to which yield was protected and it reduced the use of insecticides. But as of now cotton growers do not get either benefit, the farmer said.

Vidarbha is farmers’ suicide-prone region and there is concern about how boll worm attack will hit farmers.

Already farmers in the region are having to make distress sales in soybean, urad and moong which are selling below the minimum support price.



UNI GP RSA 2025

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