Difficult to say Bt cotton crop yield loss due to pink

bollworm attack: FSIINew Delhi, Jan 16 (PTI) Seed industry body FSII todaysaid it was "unfortunate" that the Maharashtra government hasheld seed f...

bollworm attack: FSIINew Delhi, Jan 16 (PTI) Seed industry body FSII todaysaid it was "unfortunate" that the Maharashtra government hasheld seed firms responsible without any proper assessment forthe losses suffered due to pink bollworm attack on Bt cottoncrop this kharif season.

It is "unfair" and "breach of principles of naturaljustice" to hold seed companies responsible based on "mediareports", alleged the Federation of Seed Industry of India(FSII) in a statement.

The FSII, in a letter to both the Centre and theMaharashtra government, expressed concerns over the problemfaced by farmers but said the industry might close if thestate asks seed firms to compensate the losses.

"It is very difficult to establish that yield loss, ifany, is due to attack of pink bollworm. It is an establishedscientific fact that crop yields depend on multiple factors...

You are also aware of rampant cultivation of illegal GM cottonin Maharashtra this year. All these factors might havecontributed to any possible yield losses," it said.

It is also a fact that adequate methods of controllingpink bollworm are available to the farmers. Our understandingis that in most of the areas pink bollworm was below economicthreshold level (ETL), it added.

Giving the right perspective on pink bollworm attacks oncotton fields of Maharashtra, the industry body in the lettersaid: "A major factor for the possible resistance developmentin pink bollworm is due to non-adherence to the regulatoryguideline of planting non-Bt refuge by farmers. It is alsodependent on the quality of non Bt refuge supplied by someseed companies."When Bt technology was introduced in 2002, the FSII saidpink bollworm was not a major pest on cotton, except in somepockets of Punjab and Haryana.

"It is a scientific fact that when one pest goes down dueto very good control by a pesticide or a GM trait, it isnatural for the other pests to increase due to lack ofcompetition. This is true in all living beings includingmicrobes and insects. Increase in pink bollworm is essentiallydue to lack of competition from other bollworms," it said.

The FSII further said the Bt cotton trait is approvedprimarily for the control of American bollworm.

"The control of spotted bollworm, army worm and pinkbollworm was an additional feature of the technology. Even nowthe control of all the above bollworms, especially theAmerican bollworm, has been excellent, except for the veryrecent phenomenon of the attack of pink bollworm in certainareas," it said.

Stating that pink bollworm management continues to beimplemented in an excellent manner by the Gujarat governmentin the last two years with extremely satisfactory results,the FSII said: "It is very important to transfer thisknowledge from Gujarat to other states and prevent the attackof pink bollworm."No technology or product can be eternally effective. Thatis why continuous research and development of new products isimportant and seed companies are investing on it every year,it added.

The FSII is an association of research-based seed andseed technology companies that provide high-performance andhigh-quality seeds. More than 10 of its member companies caterto around 40-45 per cent of the hybrid Bt cotton seeds in 2017kharif season. PTI LUXMKJ.

This is unedited, unformatted feed from the Press Trust of India wire.

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