Government is ascertaining reasons behind dip in Bt Cotton production, which covers more than 90 per cent of the total cotton area in the country.

“We are seriously ascertaining what are the reasons for the decline in Bt cotton production,” Minister of State for Agriculture and Food Processing Charan Das Mahant told Rajya Sabha.

Mahant said yield of cotton in the country was recorded at 499 kg and 491 kg per hectare in 2010-11 and 2011-12 respectively.

However, in 2012-13, it was estimated at 488 kg a hectare with “more than 90 per cent of total area in the country is now under Bt Cotton cultivation.”

He said overall the yield has increased from 467 kg per hectare in 2007-08 to 488 kg per hectare in 2012-13 and the production was sufficient for country’s requirement with surplus being exported.

Mahant also said that cotton research centres and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) were conducting research for production of coloured cotton.

The Jawaharlal Nehru Agriculture Institute, Jabalpur had conducted research for it but the produce was small at 50 kg a hectare, he said, adding in some areas villagers were growing green and brown cotton but its colour faded in sun.

There are separate seed productions for it, he said, adding the cost of production of cotton in the country has increased from Rs 2,110.53 per quintal in 2007-08 to Rs 2,772.16 per quintal in 2012-13.

Earlier, Congress and BJP members clashed in the House over the issue of Bt cotton as Opposition members insisted on knowing what price farmers were getting for their crop. The heated exchanges led to adjournment of the House for 20 minutes during Question Hour.

(This article was published on March 15, 2013)
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