26 January 2003
BT COTTON 'SUCCESS' A LIE
Bt cotton 'success' a lie: Greenpeace
The Times of India, JANUARY 24, 2003
HYDERABAD: Greenpeace India (GPI) refuted the findings of the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC), appointed by the Centre, on the performance of the Bt cotton variety.
Greenpeace India said it had undertaken a similar investigation as the one GEAC had done and visited the same Bt cotton farmers in Warangal and Nalgonda. The government has lied to the nation on the performance of Bt cotton.
The design and methodology of the GEAC was woefully inadequate to assess and evaluate the performance of Bt cotton, the GPI said in a statement.
Refuting the claims of Union minister T R Baalu on the satisfactory performance of Bt cotton based on the GEAC report, Greenpeace said the assessment was done before the end of season. Further, the assessment did not take into account parameters like environmental risks, market rates and labour intensity and that the sample size was too small to come to any conclusions.
Greenpeace alleged that the expert team was misdirected in its visits by the Monsanto-Mahyco representatives, who are marketing the Bt cotton in the country.
The GEAC experts had visited the "demonstration plots" and had not visited farmers who had a bitter experience growing Bt cotton.
Greenpeace also carried the testimonies of farmers who contradicted their statements given to the GEAC on the better performance of Bt cotton.
When contacted, agriculture commissioner Sutirtha Battacharya said it was too early to comment on the performance of the Bt cotton.
Centre for Resource Education executive director D Narasimha Reddy, part of the Greenpeace study team, said the voice of the farmers was not being heard either by the government or the company promoting the seed.
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