BANGALORE: Through the workshop ‘10 years of BT Cotton in Karnataka: whither other cotton?’, the Sahaja Samrudha, a seed savers group in the state with the Karnataka State Biodiversity Board (KSBB) urged the state government to tackle seed crisis.
The speakers also appealed to the policy makers to adopt the valuable lessons gained through experience of BT cotton and stressed that caution should be exercised in regard to further investment in transgenic technology. “It is apparent that seed crisis is brewing when it comes to non-GM seed supply and organic cotton farmers are suffering due to lack of choices in the market and lack of supply from other sources too. This issue needs to be addressed,” said Krishna Prasad of Sahaja Samrudha.
Releasing a report on BT cotton, Chairman of Western Ghats Task Force and co-chairman of KSBB Ananth Hegde Ashisara said agro diversity should be focused upon along with forest biodiversity.
“We are planning to identify hotspots and create agro biodiversity. We have identified areas in Banavasi, in Uttara Kannada districts and we would encourage farmers accordingly. Also, those agricultural science institutions which are doing research work along with Monsanto (seed company) should be questioned as to why they are not getting permission from the Biodiversity Board,” he said.
According to the report, from the total 58 per cent of cotton varietal area in the state in 2002-03, in 2009-10, the area of cotton varieties decreased to 30 per cent.