India set for record in area under cotton

by Vivek Deshpande, 23 July 2010. Indian Express

Maximum area under cotton cultivation this year, with the area estimated to touch 110 lakh hectares-more than one-third of the world's total cotton area. While the increase in Vidarbha is mainly owing to repeated crises of diseases and low prices in the past two years for soybean, the overall increase in attributed largely to the success story of Bt cotton. The success is also due to introduction of effective insecticides like gaucho, spinosad and indoxacarb. Integrated Pest and Resistance Management programmes were also introduced around the same time when Bt came says Keshav Kranthi, director of Central Institute for Cotton Research. The cotton area in the country in 2002, the year when Bt cotton was introduced, was about 76.67 lakh hectares. It has shot up by about 30 lakh hectares over the years. The contrasting drop in production despite anĀ  increase in area was attributed to factors like erratic rains, diseases like reddening of leaves, milibug, leaf-curl virus and other such miscellaneous insect bugs.

New analysis suggests that if anything, suicides among farmers have been decreasing since the introduction of GM cotton by Monsanto in 2002. \"It is not only inaccurate, but simply wrong to blame the use of Bt cotton as the primary cause of farmer suicides in India,\" said the report from the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in Washington DC. \"Despite the recent media hype around farmer suicides,\" it added, \"fuelled by civil society organisations and reaching the highest political spheres in India and elsewhere, there is no evidence in available data of a \'resurgence\' of farmer suicide in India in the last five years.\"
Indian farmer suicides not GM related, says study
by , Guardian.co.uk, 05 November, 2008
India has made cotton fabrics for 20 centuries, and its scale in India was unimaginable. But modern market structures have pushed millions to the edge, and a few intense efforts, such as those of Dastakar Andhra, are not enough to reverse this.

Uzramma has been working on 'artisanal' cotton textile production since 1990. This includes several processes - making yarn, weaving and dyeing. She believes that textiles have gone through a different history during the pre-colonial period because - unlike other sectors of the economy - it was relatively less hierarchical. "A large part of society was engaged in production," she observes. "There were lateral relationships." Later, she elaborated on how Hindus and Muslims worked in harmony, albeit in different sectors of textile production. She has found, in the course of her prolonged engagement with this traditional industry, that it was best to combine practical work, even designing new spinning units, with historical research.
Artisanal weavers struggling to survive
by Darryl D'Monte, India Together, 09 September, 2008
Crippled by debt after the suicide of his father in 1996, 42-year-old farmer Mothi Reddy migrated from his village Kanta- thmakur in Andhra Pradesh to Warangal city. He never went back. That is, until six years later, when he heard that a \"magic seed\" was raising cotton yield exponentially, and returned home to plant it in a part of his 6-acre farm. Today, sitting in the verandah of his village home, Reddy smiles, revealing his widely spaced, crooked teeth and says Bt cotton gives him a yield of 12 to 15 quintals per acre, as against just 6 quintals in his father\'s time. And he now makes a 30 per cent profit. \"I have been able to renovate the house and send my son to an engineering school,\" he says in Telugu. Farmers at Kantathmakur now say they want new Bt technologies in vegetables, cereals and pulses. A few kilometres to the West of Kanta- thmakur, Ram Reddy, a 45-year-old farmer in Medak district, paints an entirely different picture. He is struggling to make a living with his 20 acres of Bt cotton fields. Last season, he got 4 to 5 quintals per acre. \"The flowers are falling before they open,\" he says angrily. \"Everybody here is facing the same problem, but local agencies are only providing Bt seeds. We have complained, but nobody is doing anything about it.\"
The Future Of Food
by Noemie Bisserbe, Business Std(Bombay), 30 January, 2009