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Dec 02, 2003
Bt Cotton: an Indian workaround?

A major objection to the much touted, high yielding genetic crops is that they end up bankrupting the farmer. One of the crops known as Bt cotton, that does manage to stave off the traditional boll worm attack is vulnerable to several others. That means repeated use of a variety of pesticides. Quite apart from the environmental and personal hazards such heavy use of chemicals pose, farmers are financially broken.  Lacking money for these expensive pesticides, media reports have said crops are lost and several farmers have committed suicide.

Now, a report in ‘Business Line’ says farmers in Madhya Pradesh have developed a unique organic pesticide based on milk curd. It’s a stomach churning recipe that includes highly fermented milk curd, cow dung, cow’s urine, chilli juice, onion and water. This brew has been tried out on carrots, tomatoes, organic cotton --and, Bt cotton. Dr G S Kausahal, Director of Agriculture, Madhya Pradesh has claimed that use of this spray has cut the cost of crop protection by two thirds. And it is organic to boot.

Too good to be true or are we looking at a clincher in the genetic crops debate? Judge for yourself by reading the full story.

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