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Home Food Information News Flash Genetic Modification and Consequences

Genetic Modification and Consequences

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BT Cotton - Genetically modified by Monsanto corporation of USA

Current estimates for world production of cotton are about 25 million tonnes annually, accounting for 2.5% of the world's arable land. China is the world's largest producer of cotton, but most of this is used domestically. The United States has been the largest exporter for many years.

Cotton has been spun, woven, and dyed since prehistoric times. It clothed the people of ancient India, Egypt, and China. Hundreds of years before the Christian era, cotton textiles were woven in India with matchless skill, and their use spread to the Mediterranean countries.

Successful cultivation of cotton requires plenty of sunshine, and a moderate rainfall. Soils usually need to be fairly heavy, although the level of nutrients does not need to be exceptional. While dry land (non-irrigated) cotton is successfully grown , consistent yields are only produced with heavy reliance on irrigation water. Since cotton is somewhat salt and drought tolerant, this makes it an attractive crop for arid and semiarid regions.

Genetic modification

Genetically modified (GM) cotton was developed to reduce the heavy reliance on pesticides. The bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) naturally produces a chemical harmful only to a small fraction of insects, most notably the larvae of moths and butterflies, beetles, and flies, and harmless to other forms of life. The gene coding for Bt toxin has been inserted into cotton, causing cotton to produce this natural insecticide in its tissues. In many regions, the main pests in commercial cotton are lepidopteran larvae, which are killed by the Bt protein in the transgenic cotton they eat. This eliminates the need to use large amounts of broad-spectrum insecticides to kill lepidopteran pests (some of which have developed pyrethroid resistance). This spares natural insect predators in the farm ecology and further contributes to noninsecticide pest management.    Bt cotton is ineffective against many cotton pests, however, such as plant bugs, stink bugs, and aphids; depending on circumstances it may still be desirable to use insecticides against these.

Cotton is bought and sold by investors and price speculators as a tradable commodity on 2 different stock exchanges in the United States of America .

In India, while cotton is grown on 5 per cent of the total crop area, it uses up 55 per cent of all pesticides. Intensified chemical use has led to a dramatic rise in pest infestation as, over time, they have become resistant to insecticides. Increasing chemical costs and falling cotton prices have pushed thousands of cotton farmers in India, where the majority of the 17 million cotton cultivating families subsist on less than two hectares, into a vortex of debt. Unable to face the consequences of crop failures and mounting debts, thousands of farmers across the country ended their lives in the last five years.

Given the high chemical dependence of the cotton crop, little wonder that cotton was one of the first crops to be genetically engineered by the US-based agrochemical multinational Monsanto.    The seed was designed to counter act, pests found in the United States, but their efforts to market the products worldwide, brought them face to face with other pests, which are the cause of the problem facing the Indian farmers, who were not well versed in Science and those who guided them might have also been ill informed, or tutored by the Company that employed them.   Like every good Indian employee, he is always his Master's voice.

Although officially touted by the sellers of the seed for having increased production and farmers’ income, Bt cotton, genetically modified, insect-resistant cotton, remains highly controversial in India. Among other allegations, it is accused of being the main reason for a resurgence of farmer suicides in India.   They say that there is no 'evidence' in available 'data' of a “resurgence” of farmer suicides in India but they note that Bt cotton technology has been very effective overall in India.

However, the way Bt cotton was introduced has generated disappointing results in some particular regions.  Many other factors have likely played a prominent role in the farmers' suicides.  Nevertheless, they suggest that in specific regions and years, where Bt cotton may have indirectly contributed to farmer indebtedness, leading to suicides.   

We have to presume that our farmers are not well versed in international politics or trade practices.   When some one comes to them, well dressed in a foreign attire, they tend to believe him, as telling the truth.   They do not question his knowledge or competence as is the general case with the Indian public, and its News Media, and accept as true, what they hear, and their need to get out of their current problem, throws themselves into a greater one, which due to their poor intellectual back ground and inclination, this becomes inevitable.

"Patented gene technologies will not help small farmers survive climate change, but they will concentrate corporate power, drive up costs, inhibit public sector research and further undermine the rights of farmers to save and exchange seeds.

Armed with the growing power and a 26% share in Mahyco, it's Indian counterpart, Monsanto unleashed Bt Cotton in India. PR, News and other media bought off, people started hearing how Bt cotton has been successful and made for amazing yields.

Till farmers started committing suicide. Today the numbers are placed at more than 200,000. The magical Bt Cotton was neither magical nor so Bt'ed with common sense. Predictably, the secondary pests developed a resistance and started creating havoc.

But the company had paid off the top politicians and greenwashed, blackwashed, bloodwashed the case of Bt Cotton.

Find out more about the humanitarian, ecological, environmental disaster of Bt Cotton here:
http://www.i-sis.org.uk/farmersSuicidesBtCottonIndia.php
" Hemant Jain.

Incidentally, all the articles relating to Monsanto have been deleted from the Internet, and I got the article of Hemant from this website:

http://www.gmwatch.org/latest-listing/1-news-items/11935-indias-battle-against-monsanto-rages-on

My own observation is that the Indian farmer was facing the problem of pests, and to fight them, had been incurring losses and when Monsanto came, they felt their deliverance time had come, so went into it.   But Monsanto had not researched Indian pests, and the seed was suitable for America, and the Indian marketeers, sold it to gullible farmers.   With the result, Monsanto had to sell them other patented pesticides, and their indebtedness increased, the loss of bank loans, and their liability to repay them, and the threatening notices, all flabbergasted the uneducated and misguided Indian farmer, who lost all hope, and took the ultimate decision of ending his life, as all the others, the politicians, the media, and the do gooders in the country were busy with cricket matches, scams, and other juicy stories, bashing one another.

Now we have the world wide phenomena, starting from Wall Street where thousands of American unemployed are protesting with Occupy Wall Street, in Greece, the people are burning effigies of politicians, Cameron and Sarkozy go bombing Libya with the hope of getting his oil and gold, and now they are targeting Syria,  so that the last threat to their friend Israel, can be elimiated, and pliable regimes planted in their place.    This mockery of democracy may come to haunt all those who think they have won this time.  

The ordinary human being, who relied on others, is facing now the high prices of food, and agricultural produce, and do not understand who is responsible, and target the politicans, who are just men in the middle of the conveyer belt.   This has been going on during the period when other parties were in power, but now it suits them to bash the one sitting on the chair.  No one can hit the Giant Goliath (on whose largesse the politicians depend) as the David has not yet been born.    This Goliath, is hiding behind the names of "Bankers",  "Financial Institutions", and the names of the people behind them bear an uncanny resemblance to those targeted by Hitler.






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