Saturday, 31 March 2012

The Bt show at 10--THE TIMES OF INDIA-


The Bt show at 10--THE TIMES OF INDIA-

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The Bt show at 10

F0r afarmerthere is nothing m
ore precious than his crop. But in parts ofVidarbha
region this week, groups of farmers and women put fire to their cotton produce. The farmers were
all deep in debt and the women were mostly widows of men who have committed
suicide in recent years. It was not a protest against banks or moneylenders, it was a protest against Bt cotton which the farmers blame for their misfortunes.

Bt cotton completed 10 years in India this week and Vidarbha farmers used the moment to raise their voice against the seed that once promised them gold. Instead, they cry, it has turned them into paupers.

India commercialised its firsttransgenic crop, Bt cotton, in March 2002. It was sold to cotton-growing states that were told the seed had an inbuilt capacity to resist American bollworm pests. But in the impoverished belts of eastern Maharashtra, Bt technology started losing its sheen in 2005 as crops began to fail.

Ramesh Sankeniwa Reri of Hiwara village took a loan of Rs 3.5 lakh for Bt seeds only to see his crop fail last year. "I barely managed to earn Rs 1 lakh from my failed crop. How will I pay the loan? I have two young children and don't know how I can sustain my family. Now, I have decided to cultivate soybean and chana. A lot of farmers here have already committed suicide," he says.

The situation is so serious that last year Maharashtra had to bail out Vidarbha farmers with a Rs 2000-crore relief package. "In 2002, farmers were told that Bt cotton will reap gold. Aggressive advertising campaigns continued to mislead farmers who quit their indigenous drought resistant varieties and started buying expensive Bt cotton seeds worth Rs 3000 for two packets. It almost doubled the cost of production ," says Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti (VJAS) chief Kishor Tiwari.

One of the main reasons for crop failure in Maharashtra was lack of irrigation facilities. "Vidarbha is a classic example of wrong selection of Bt technology in dry regions. Most farmers who committed suicide in the Vidarbha region are Bt farmers" adds Tiwari.

But Vidrabha's tragic tales are only one side of the story. Experts believe it's wrong to blame Bt cotton for suicides. "There are farmer suicides in West Bengal, too, where there are no genetically modified crops. I think people are wrongly connecting farmer suicides in Maharashtra with Bt cotton," says S K Datta, director-general (crop sciences ) at the Indian Council of Agricultural Research.

Datta asserted that the yield is not stagnating everywhere. "Some villages near Rajkot in Gujarat have a productivity of 850 to 900 kg lint per ha. It's much higher compared to all other states. This is because they have managed the Bt crop well, supplementing it with check dams and drip irrigation."

There are others, too, who think Bt is good. This week, the biotech industry celebrated a decade of success . The International Service for Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications report claimed that "the production of Bt cotton seed and its by-products had increased from 0.46 million tones in 2002-03 to 1.20 million tones in 2010-11 ."

Production has indeed gone up in some parts of the country, but the technology has created other problems . According to V S Vijayan , former chairman of Kerala State Biodiversity Board chairman and prominent ecologist, indigenous varieties of cotton have almost disappeared because of cross pollination with Bt cotton. "There was a similar issue in Mexico which is the 'centre of origin' of maize. But once Bt maize was introduced, all the local 35 varieties of maize disappeared ," says Vijayan. A recent report by the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel also declared that no genetically modified crops should be introduced to protect the rich biodiversity of the area.

The situation is not very different in Punjab. Some Bt farmers have started taking interest in organic farming. "Initially the yield per acre of Bt cotton went up to 10 quintals but it has now come down to around eight, which is what even an organic farmer is getting without spending anything on pesticide sprays and seeds," says Kheti Virasat Mission chief Uminder Dutt.

On the 10th anniversary of the introduction of this technology in India, as Punjab's farmers return to organic farming, the Bt story seems to have come full circle.

With reports from Snehlata Shrivastav, Nagpur; Ankur Jain, Ahmedabad; and Sanjay Sharma, Chandigarh

Maharashtra cotton farmers oppose new tax- IANS Reports


Maharashtra cotton farmers oppose new tax- By IANS


Sat Mar 31 2012 18:02:11 GMT+0530 (India Standard Time) by IANS
Yavatmal (Maharashtra), March 31 (IANS) Cotton farmers and widows of debt-laden peasants went on a day’s hunger strike Saturday in different Maharashtra towns to protest the new five percent purchase tax levied on cotton trade in the state budget, an activist said.
“This new tax is yet another blow to the cotton farming community in the state as the traders would now not buy cotton from them and source it from Madhya Pradesh or Andhra Pradesh,” Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti chief Kishor Tiwari, which is spearheading the agitation against the new tax proposed in the budget earlier this week, told IANS.
Following the massive cotton crop failure this year in the state, Tiwari predicted that the new tax would add to the growing number of farmland suicides in the state’s eastern part of Vidarbha.
The trading community was sympathising with the farmers and would stop buying cotton from Monday till the new tax, intended to generate an additional revenue of over Rs.2 billion annually, was withdrawn, he said.
Besides Tiwari, other farm activists like Suresh Bolenwar, Tukaram Meshram, Ankit Naitam, Moreshwar Watile, Mohan Jadhav, farm widows Bebitai Bais, KBC-fame Aparna Malikar, Manju Ambarwar, Cotton Traders Association office bearers Suvidhi Surana, Rikhab Mutha, Chandrakant Chokhani, Kishore Khera and Vijay Kondawar joined the day-long fast in Pandharkavda town in Yavatmal district.
Tiwari claimed that following the announcement on the new tax, cotton prices in the state fell by around Rs.200 per quintal at Rs.3,400 per quintal.

Friday, 30 March 2012

Hunger Strike of Vidarbha Cotton Farmers, Traders, Processors and Exporters on 31 March


Hunger Strike of Vidarbha Cotton Farmers, Traders, Processors and Exporters  on 31 March for lifting Stringent Restriction cotton export and to abolish 5% tax proposed Maharashtra Govt.

NAGPUR:30/03/12
Five million cotton farmers who are facing cotton crop failure is being subjected ti very heavy economic losses due needless restriction put by commerce ministry on export and recent announcement of Maharashtra Govt. to imposing 5% tax on all raw cotton purchases in maharashtra and now cotton traders, cotton processing pant owners and exporters to have come together and will start hunger strike in Agrasen Bhavan Pandharkawada from  March 30, 2012 demanding  restriction free cotton export special incentive for cotton export and uniform taxation on cotton purchases in India., Kishore Tiwari of Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti (VJAS) informed .

 Cotton prices in the state fell further by around Rs. 200 at Rs. 3,400 a quintal following the state government's budget announcement of imposing a value added tax (VAT) of 5% on cotton. The additional tax burden has hit the market sentiment which was already low with the virtual stalling of exports since March 5.

While on the one hand the state government has decided to extend a relief of Rs2,000 crore to around 5 million cotton farmers after crop failure in more than nearly 40 lakh hectares, it took a harsh measure to put 5% VAT on cotton.

Prices which were ruling around Rs4,200 in the first week of March have steadily declined to Rs 3,400 in the current week. "This will only add to economic losses of the already distressed cotton growers," said Kishore Tiwari (VJAS). He has urged the state to roll back the VAT proposed in the budget. In other cotton growing states it was no more than 2%, he claimed.

The director general of foreign trade (DGFT) literally stalled cotton exports by sea and road since March 5 leading to crash in raw cotton prices. VJAS has demanded that the group of ministers (GoM), which is likely to meet on April 3, should review the situation and lift all restrictions on cotton exports.

"When cotton arrival as per data is only 242 lakh bales as against 278 lakhs bales of last year and at least 120 lakh bales awaited in the markets, such restrictions will expose more than 7 million cotton growers, traders and exporters to huge economic losses and will damage Indian cotton trade. Just to protect a few garment manufactures, the DGFT should not be allowed to dictate its terms," said Tiwari.

"When domestic demand is just 20 million bales as against production of 33 million bales there is no reason to restrict exports. The move reeks of corruption," Tiwari alleged. "India, is a major exporter of cotton but a cartel which monopolies the garment export is lobbying for the ban since 2010 although India is signatory to the WTO," Tiwari said.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

5% VAT may slash cotton prices further-TIMES OF INDIA

 


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5% VAT may slash cotton prices further

NAGPUR: Cotton prices in the state fell further by around Rs 200 at Rs 3,400 a quintal following the state government's budget announcement of imposing a value added tax (VAT) of 5% on cotton.
The additional tax burden has hit the market sentiment which was already low with the virtual stalling of exports since March 5.
While on the one hand the state government has decided to extend a relief of Rs2,000 crore to around 5 million cotton farmers after crop failure in more than nearly 40 lakh hectares, it took a harsh measure to put 5% VAT on cotton.
Prices which were ruling around Rs4,200 in the first week of March have steadily declined to Rs 3,400 in the current week. "This will only add to economic losses of the already distressed cotton growers," said Kishore Tiwari of Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti (VJAS). He has urged the state to roll back the VAT proposed in the budget. In other cotton growing states it was no more than 2%, he claimed.
The director general of foreign trade (DGFT) literally stalled cotton exports by sea and road since March 5 leading to crash in raw cotton prices. VJAS has demanded that the group of ministers (GoM), which is likely to meet on April 3, should review the situation and lift all restrictions on cotton exports.
"When cotton arrival as per data is only 242 lakh bales as against 278 lakhs bales of last year and at least 120 lakh bales awaited in the markets, such restrictions will expose more than 7 million cotton growers, traders and exporters to huge economic losses and will damage Indian cotton trade. Just to protect a few garment manufactures, the DGFT should not be allowed to dictate its terms," said Tiwari.
"When domestic demand is just 20 million bales as against production of 33 million bales there is no reason to restrict exports. The move reeks of corruption," Tiwari alleged. "India, is a major exporter of cotton but a cartel which monopolies the garment export is lobbying for the ban since 2010 although India is signatory to the WTO," Tiwari said.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

जाचक अटींमुळे कापसाची निर्यात ठप्प असताना महाराष्ट्र सरकारने कापसावर ५ टक्के कर लाद्ल्यामुले कापसाच्या कीमती पडणार


जाचक अटींमुळे कापसाची निर्यात ठप्प असताना महाराष्ट्र सरकारने कापसावर ५ टक्के कर लाद्ल्यामुले कापसाच्या कीमती पडणार


नागपुर-२८ मार्च २०१२
महाराष्ट्रामध्ये ६० लाख गाठीची कापसाची आवक होत असून त्यापैकी फ़क्त १० लाख गाठी च वापर राज्यात होतो व ५० लाख गाठी निर्यात होतात सरकारने आता ५ टक्के वाट च्या रुपाने कर लावला आहे त्यामुले व्यापारी कापसाचे भाव दहा टक्के कमी करणार हे निय्चित जाले आहे कारन राज्य बहे हा दर २ टक्के आहे सर्कार ३ टक्के रक्कम परत करणार नाही व याचा नुकसान शेतकर्यांचे होणार करीता सरकारने ५ टक्के कराचा प्रस्ताव मागे घ्यावा अशी मागणी विदर्भ जनआंदोलन समितीचे अध्यक्ष किशोर तिवारी यांनी केलीआहे.
महाराष्ट्र सरकारने कापसावर ५ टक्के कर लाद्ल्यामुले कापूस कीमती पडणार असून पूर्वी सरकारच्या जाचक अटींमुळे कापसाची निर्यात ठप्प झाली असून कापूस उत्पादक शेतकरी अडचणीत सापडला आहे. त्यामुळे कापसाची निर्यात विनाअटीने खुली करण्याची मागणी विदर्भ जनआंदोलन समितीचे अध्यक्ष किशोर तिवारी यांनी केलीआहे.
भारत सरकारने ५ मार्चला कापसावर अचानक निर्यातबंदी लावली. मात्र कृषी मंत्रालय सत्तारूढ व विरोधी पक्ष, महाराष्ट्र, गुजरात, आंध्रप्रदेश, पंजाब व मध्यप्रदेश सरकारने या निर्यात बंदीला जोरदार विरोध केल्यानंतर सरकारने कागदावर निर्यातबंदी उठविली. मात्र त्यामध्ये जुन्या निर्यात परवान्याला पुन्हा परवानगी घ्यावी लागेल व नवीन निर्यात प्रमाणपत्र देणे बंद केल्याचे नमूद करून अघोषित निर्यातबंदी कायम ठेवली आहे.यामुळे ५ मार्चपासून कापसाची निर्यातबंदी ठप्प झाली आहे. कापसाचा व्यापार मंदावला असून कापसाच्या गाठीचे भाव ३६ हजार रुपयांवरून ३२ हजारांवर आले असून शेतकरयांच्या कापसाचा भाव सुद्धा ४ हजारांवरून ३४०० रुपये प्रति क्विंटलवर आला आहे. एकीकडे सर्व राजकीय पक्ष निर्यातबंदीचा विरोध करीत आहेत, तर वाणिज्यमंत्री कापसाच्या निर्यातीवर नवीन नवीन निर्बंध आणून कापसाची निर्यात बंद करण्यात यशस्वी झाले आहे. अशा परिस्थितीमध्ये २३ रोजी अर्थमंत्री, कृषिमंत्री व वाणिज्यमंत्री यांच्यासमोर हे सर्व मुद्दे विदर्भ जनआंदोलन समितीने रेटले असून कापसाच्या निर्यातीवरील सर्व बंधने काढून ३ मार्चपूर्वीची खुली निर्यात करा, अशी मागणी शेतकरी नेते किशोर तिवारी यांनी केली आहे.
सध्या भारतात फक्त २४२ लाख गाठींची आवक झाली असून सरकारी आकडेवारी नुसारच १२० लाख कापसाच्या गाठी बाजारात येणे आहे. अशा परिस्थितीमध्ये वाणिज्य मंत्रालयाने २० मार्चला कापूस निर्यातीसंबंधी नवीन आदेश काढला असून यामध्ये पहिले भारत, पाकिस्तान, बांगलादेश व नेपाळच्या निर्यातीचे प्रलंबित निर्यात पुनर्विचार करण्यात येईल व त्यानंतरच ज्याचीनला ७० टक्के कापूस निर्यात होत आहे त्यावर विचार करण्यात येईल. त्यानंतर नवीन निर्यात परवाने विचारात घेण्यात येतील, असा आदेश काढला आहे. यामुळे बाजारात अधिक मंदी आली आहे. ज्या निर्यातदारांनी मार्च व फेब्रुवारी महिन्यात तांत्रिक कारणामुळे निर्यात केली नाही त्यांना वाणिज्य मंत्रालयातील अधिकारी नूतनीकरणासाठी कोट्यवधीची मागणी करीत आहेत, तर कापूस निर्यातदारांना सरकारने कापूस तस्करीच्या दर्जात टाकून त्यांची चौकशी सुरू केल्यामुळे अनेक निर्यातदारांनी आपल्या निर्याती प्रमाणपत्राचे अर्जच परत घेतले. यामुळे कापसाचे भाव अशीच परिस्थिती राहिली तर हमीभावापेक्षा कमी होतील व निर्यात योग्य १०० लाख गाठी पडून राहिल्या तर पुढच्या वर्षीही कापसाला भाव मिळणार नाही. यामुळे ७० लाख कापूस उत्पादक शेतकरयांवर प्रचंड आर्थिक संकट उभे असून भ्रष्टाचाराने लिप्त असलेले वाणिज्यमंत्री कोणत्याही
परिस्थितीत मुठभर गिरणी मालकांना पोसण्यासाठी निर्यातीवरील अटी दूर करण्यास तयार नाही. शेतकरयांच्या प्रश्नावर ओरड करणारे काँग्रेस, राष्ट्रवादी काँग्रेसचे मंत्री व खासदार यांनी बघ्याची भूमिका घेतल्यामुळे निर्दाेष शेतकरयांच्या आत्महत्येची वेळ आलीआहे. कापसावरील निर्यात खुली करावी, अशी मागणी किशोर तिवारीयांनी केली आहे

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Vidarbha farmers, widows to mourn decade of BT cotton-IANS


Vidarbha farmers, widows to mourn decade of BT cotton
Nagpur, March 25 (IANS) Thousands of farmers and farm widows shall 'mourn' and protest the tenth anniversary of the introduction of US-based GM Seed's revolutionary "BT Cotton" in the country Monday, an activist group said here Sunday.
"Tomorrow, thousands of farmers and farmland widows shall protest in various towns and villages across Vidarbha against BT Cotton, which failed in 400,000 hectares since 2005 and in 4.20 million hectares this year," Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti (VJAS) chief Kishor Tiwari told IANS.
The VJAS has been fighting the cause of Maharashtra farmers opposed to BT cotton, which, Tiwari claimed is the root cause of farmers' suicides claiming over 10,000 lives so far in the state.
Farmers will gather in two of the worst suicide-prone villages - Hiwara and Bothbudan - demanding suspension of all commercial trials of BT Cotton in the dry regions of the Vidarbha region of eastern Maharashtra and banning GM cotton in the country.
"Vidarbha is a classic example of a wrong selection of GM technology in dry regions since BT Cotton requires proper irrigation facilities that are lacking here," Tiwari pointed out.
When the permission was granted by India ten years ago, experimental cultivation of BT cotton was started in 10,000 hectares in different parts of the country.
"Today, it has gone to over 12 million hectares, especially after Maharashtra permitted commercial cultivation trials of BT cotton from June 2005," said Tiwari.
He said the VJAS has demanded a special discussion by parliament on cotton farmers crises since the past ten years of BT cotton and setting up of a special parliamentary committee to inquire into the mess created by BT cotton.
In a report released Sunday, a group of NGOs under the banner of 'Coalition for GM-free India' has claimed that the government's own data proved that BT cotton has resulted in stagnant yields, pest resistance and evolution of new pest and disease attacks.
"The real yield gains in the past decade, from 278 kg/hectare to 470 kg/hectare was seen between 2001-2005 when BT cotton accounted for only 5.6 percent of the total cotton cultivation area. After that, till 2012, when the BT cotton area covered 90 percent of the total cotton cultivation area, the yield noticed was 470 kg/hectare to only 481 kg/hectare," Kiran Vissa, co-convenor of Alliance for Sustainable & Holistic Agriculture, said in the study report.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Economic survey exposes agriculture crisis in state-TIMES OF INDIA



Economic survey exposes agriculture crisis in state-TIMES OF INDIA
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/nagpur/Economic-survey-exposes-agriculture-crisis-in-state/articleshow/12387317.cms?prtpage=1
NAGPUR: For the first time, the state government has officially admitted of an agrarian crisis in its Economic Survey for 2011-12 by reporting that there was negative growth by over 5 percentage points in agriculture. The de-growth in farm sector along with rising debts and dip in state gross domestic product (GPD) below the national GDP presents a dismal economic picture.

Farm activist and Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti president Kishore Tiwari, said, it is evident that the agriculture de-growth in the state is dragging the state's economy down. The external borrowing of the government is expected to increase to 2,26,926 crore in 2011-12. In 2004-05, the total public debt was 1,09,167 crore but by 2010-11 it increased to 2,05,689 crore. The fall in the state's GDP is steeper than the country's. While the country's GDP (advance estimates) has come down by 1.5 percentage points to 6.9 % in FY2011-12, in the state it has fallen (as per projections) by 2.80 percentage points to 8.5 %.

"This is a gloomy situation. Massive corruption and malfunctioning in the state are mainly responsible for this economic crisis," said Tiwari. "If the situation is not brought under control with urgency the sufferings of 7 million debt-trapped farmers could worsen. The negative growth will spread to urban areas and distress will deepen," warned Tiwari.

As per survey it is reported that in FY 2011-12, agriculture and allied activities has shown a negative growth of 5.1% (against a growth of 15.6 % in FY2010-11), industry and services have grown at a slower rate of 9.1 % (10.8%) and 10.1% (11%) respectively. The report pointed out that production of foodgrains in 2011-12 is expected to register a decrease of 23 % at 118.09 lakh tonnes as against 154.19 lakh tonnes last year. Production of oilseeds and cotton (lint) are also expected to decrease by 8% and 15% respectively.

"The reason given by the government for retardation of agriculture growth is the late arrival of monsoon in Vidarbha and Marathwada and its erratic nature. But in reality, it is the wrong policies promoted by state and total neglect of dry-land farmers who were growing rain-sensitive crop like Bt cotton. The state should promote sustainable crop patterns, Tiwari said.

"While foodgrain yields have dropped by alarming levels, there is a jump by 200% in consumption of grains by alcohol units allowed to use foodgrains for brewing in the state," he said.

Maharashtra Economic Survey confirm gravity of “ Agrarian crisis”: Farmers Demands “President Rule” to Handle Crisis


Maharashtra Economic Survey  confirm gravity of “ Agrarian crisis”: Farmers Demands “President Rule” to Handle Crisis
Nagpur -23rd march 2012
This is for the first Maharashtra Govt. officially admitted in s Economic Survey for 2011-12  that it is the   Agriculture sector in Maharashtra to show negative growth painting  a dismal picture of the State's economy with all sectors dragging the growth down and the debt of the government is expected to increase to Rs 2,26,926 crore in 2011-12. In 2004-05, the total public debt was Rs 1,09,167 crore but by 2010-11 it increased to Rs 2,05,689 crore. The fall in Maharashtra's GSDP is steeper than the country's GDP. While the country's GDP (advance estimates) has come down by 1.5 percentage points to 6.9 per cent in FY2011-12, in the case of Maharashtra, the GSDP (advance estimates) has fallen by 2.80 percentage points to 8.5 per cent.
“This is very gloomy situation and massive corruption and malfunctioning in state Govt. is mainly reconcilable for this economic crisis, in order to save  more than 7 million debt trapped crisis hit farmers central intervention is must hence we demand sacking of existing non-performing PDF government and put state under president rule till crisis are over as this negative growth will spread in urban sector too and despair and distress will deep the crisis  and all coalition partners in state Govt. are busy in accumulating wealth and corruption has over shadow the main focus hence drastic action is must to save the state from on going bankruptcy ” urged on behalf dying cotton farmers in a letter to Governor of Maharashtra by farm activist Kishore Tiwari   of Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti VJAS,.
Negative growth
As per survey it is reported that in FY2011-12, agriculture and allied activities has shown a negative growth of 5.1 per cent (against a growth of 15.6 per cent in FY2010-11); industry and services have grown at a slower clip of 9.1 per cent (10.8 per cent) and 10.1 per cent (11 per cent) respectively.The report further pointed  out that production of food grains in 2011-12 is expected to register a decrease of 23 per cent with a production target of 118.09 lakh tonnes as against 154.19 lakh tonnes last year. Production of oilseeds and cotton (lint) are also expected to decrease by 8 per cent and 15 per cent respectively. The ratio of gross irrigated area to gross cropped area for 2008-09 in the state was 17.7 per cent, which was much below the national level ratio of 45.3 per cent and it also reported that with low productivity of soil are the major concerns in this sector in the state, the survey said, which is much more shocking .Tiwari added..

“The reason given by Govt. for retardation of agriculture growth due to the late arrival of monsoon in Vidarbha and Marathwada and its erratic nature but in reality wrong policies promoted by state and total neglect of dry land farmers who were subjected very rain sensitive crop like Bt.cotton is reason of collapse hence state should change basic agrarian policies and promote sustainable crop patterns  and they should give up idea of brining second green revolution with help of American MNC to stop on going farmers suicides”Tiwari  Demanded 
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Wednesday, 21 March 2012

DGFT stalled all Cotton Export from India resulting Huge Losses Cotton Growers, Traders and Exporters–VJAS.


DGFT stalled all Cotton Export from India resulting Huge Losses  Cotton Growers, Traders and Exporters–VJAS.


Nagpur -March 22, 2012
DGFT recent Trade Notice 24 dated 20th March, 2012 (attached) after controversial Notification No. 106 (RE-2010)/2009-14, dated 12th March, 2012 issued with reference so called lifting of cotton export ban has resulted in fresh withdrawals of new exports permissions as so called Scrutiny and revalidation of Registration Certificates(RCs) for export of cotton of DGFT literally stalled on cotton export by sea and road both  and which has dampen the market sentiments further and resulted price cash in candy for line and for raw cotton too hence farm activist Kishore Tiwari   of Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti VJAS, has demanded GOM who is likely to meet on 23rd march to review situation to lift all restrictions on cotton exports and remove the environments of fear where traders’ and exporters’ are being scanned as smugglers’ and are being subjected to unwanted harassments and massive corruption .
“When cotton arrival as per CCI data is only 242 lakhs bales as against 278 lakhs bales of last year and as per lowered estimate till 120 lakhs bales arrival is awaited hence such restrictions will  put more than 7 million cotton growers ,traders and exporters huge economic losses and will damage Indian cotton trade to larger extend  hence protecting handful garments industries DGFT all unfair trade practices should curbed and there is urgent need to review the functioning of commerce ministry  where some Babus    are detecting their terms to ruin agrarian economy of cotton growing region of India henc ewe demand urgent intervention ”Tiwari added.
DGFT recent Trade Notice 24 dated 20th March, 2012 says that Government has decided that priority in scrutiny and revalidation should be accorded to the cotton consignments that were handed over to customs till 2400 hours on Sunday, 04 March, 2012, when the prohibition had come into force.   Greater priority will be accorded to cases pertaining to Land Custom Stations (LCS) on Indo-Pakistan, Indo-Bangladesh and Indo-Nepal border to ease congestion there but in fact they is no congestion and moreover main issue of clearing and issuing fresh RC to china which contributes more than 70% of total export hence motive behind the recent trade notice is also ill- managed  as same trade notice further add that fresh  export would be permitted only after revalidation of RCs and there is package deal for fresh revalidation and DGFT officials are demanding big cash fro RC hence we demand unconditional export of cotton as per WTO norms and Indian free tarde policies ,Tiwari added.
Earlier DGFT had disappointed exporters, traders and cotton farmers and hidden restrictions in roll back order has turned out to be fresh export ban to purchases and trades hereinafter as it is clearly says that issue of new RCs stands suspended until further orders and in respect of those RCs, that were valid as on 05.03.2012 and for which LEOs are yet to be issued & exports completed. All RCs would need to be submitted to DGFT for scrutiny and revalidation. Exports can be affected only after RCs are revalidated hence now getting extension to existing contracts will give scope further exploitation and corruption in DGFT  that has deepen sentiments of market and bales which were traded @Rs.34,000 above has returned to @RS.32,400 level resulting there is no change in the local market were farmers are surprised see @ Rs.3400 per quintal as against international rates  of @Rs.45,000/- hence roll back on cotton export ban is nothing but the eyewash hence we demand blanket lifting of export ban under free export of raw cotton under OGL that can save dying debt trapped 7 million farmers of  India, informed farm activist Kishore Tiwari   of Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti VJAS,.
 ‘If UPA Govt. has problem with growth of cotton export they want to protect textile cartel then they should buy cotton@ international rates with his agencies like NAFED and CCI. ,protecting  the innocent dying cotton farmers’ who are forced to sale cotton at throw price to local dealers who are subjected to market forces and volatile export policies of UPA Govt. most of the time managed by handful people hence PM should intervene ’Tiwari urged.
“when Indian domestic demand is just 20 million bales as against national production of 33 million bales there is no reason put restrictions when interest of domestic textile mills are fully protected .the decision to ban Indian cotton export is another example rampant corruption going on in UPA Govt. there is big names involved in the sudden export ban will expose the all misdeeds of commerce ministry hence for the first time farmers suicide issue has given focus of wrong policies of state ,we will see that the truth is prevailed”  Tiwari added.
 “India, one of the largest exporters of Cotton in the world, had left alarm bells ringing across the World and cotton cultivated in more than 124 lakhs hectors and more than 7 million cotton growers are involved and this main cash crop of India but  cartel which monopolies the garment export is managing commerce ministry to impose such ban since 2010 even India singed WTO has already lifted quantitative  restriction on import-export and corrupt Babus with undue protect from concern minister are involved in such unjust ,untimely ,ill motivated decision hence to avoid it’s reoccurrence  cotton export ban decision needs CBI probe and PM should arrange to sack his commerce minister  as facts  added by GOM and protest from Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar and chief ministers of Maharashtra , Gujarat, AP and  all political parties UPA and NDA hence only lifting ban is not sufficient and accumulated losses of cotton growers traders must be compensated by Govt. without delay” hence open free export of cotton is only solution , Tiwari added.
Copy of fresh DGFT  Trade Notice 24 -dated 20th March, 2012- is attached .


Has Bt cotton helped farmers? Sharad Pawar says yes, His Ministry No-DNA

Has Bt cotton helped farmers? Sharad Pawar says yes, His Ministry No

DNA / Yogesh Pawar / Thursday, March 22, 2012 8:01 IST


Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar told the Lok Sabha on Tuesday that use of high quality hybrid cotton seeds has helped farmers make big gains due to decreased use of pesticides. At a time when India is in the grips of an agrarian crisis, this statement should have been seen as a glimmer of hope:Only Pawar’s own ministry seems to think that the converse is happening.
The agriculture ministry’s reports cite ICARfindings as recent as January 2012 to prove that Bt cotton production in the last five years has reduced whereas use of insecticide and pesticides has increased.
Activists say the information given by Pawar is misleading. Vidarbha cotton farmers’ advocacy group Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti (VJAS) activist Kishore Tiwari said the false hype created was part of propaganda to create environment for allowing genetically modified seeds in the country.
Pawar told the House: “With the use of high quality hybrid cotton seeds, Indian farmers experienced the biggest gain in the form of reduced insecticide usage from 46% in 2001 to less than 26% after 2006 and 21% during the last two years — 2009 and 2010. Introduction of Bt cotton hybrids has helped in production increase from 156 lakh bales (170 kg lint per bale) in 2001 to an estimated 356 lakh bales in 2011…The Bt cotton hybrids approved till date do not require any herbicide in addition to those required by their non Bt counterparts for enhancing the results.”
However, the agriculture ministry’s report dated January 9, 2012 (SJ/FA-2/1a/i) says:“Cotton farmers are in a deep crisis since shifting to Bt cotton. The spate of farmer suicides in 2011-12 has been particularly severe among Bt cotton farmers. In fact cost of cotton cultivation has jumped from Rs 7 million per hectare to Rs 12 million due to rising costs of pesticides. Total Bt cotton production in the last five years has reduced.”
URL of the article: http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report_has-bt-cotton-helped-farmers-sharad-pawar-says-yes-his-ministry-no_1665671-all
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Sharad Pawar’s Big Success Story of Bt.cotton is Untrue and Contradicts of Govt. Data –VJAS

Sharad Pawar’s Big Success Story of Bt.cotton is Untrue and Contradicts of Govt. Data –VJAS.

NAGPUR -21/03/2011

This information given by Shri Sharad Pawar, Minister of Agriculture and Food Processing Industries in written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha yesterday regarding big success story of Bt.cotton in India in last decade after introduction of Bt.cotton is misleading as per Govt. data released by his own ministry regarding cotton yield and use of insecticide in fact the cotton cultivation has jumped from 7 million hector to 12 million since but surprising Bt.cotton cotton production in last five years is getting reduced whereas use of insecticide and pesticides has been increased the official data of research institutes related ICAR ,informed by vidarbha cotton farmers advocacy group Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti (VJAS.) activist Kishore Tiwari with shocking official dta that contradicts union agriculture ministry false hyped claimed and part of state owned propaganda to crate environment for allowing genetically modified (GM)seeds AND clearing BARI bill.

Shri Sharad Pawar, Minister of Agriculture and Food Processing Industries in written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha informed that and
I QUOTE
http://pib.nic.in/newsite/erelease.aspx?relid=81301

“With the use of high quality hybrid cotton seeds Indian farmers experienced the biggest gain in form of reduced insecticide usage from 46% in 2001 to less than 26% after 2006 and 21% during the last two years 2009 and 2010. Introduction of Bt. cotton hybrids has helped in production increase from 156 lakh bales (170 Kg lint per bale) in 2001 to an estimated 356 lakh bales in 2011. Bt. cotton was introduced in 2002 and the area increased from 0.29 lakh hectares in 2002 to 95.04 lakh hectare in Kharif 2011 (Target). The productivity was 309 Kg per hectare in 2001 before the introduction of Bt. cotton which increased to 495 Kg/ha in 2010.The Bt. cotton hybrids approved till date do not require any herbicide, in addition, to those required by their non Bt counterparts for enhancing the results. Also, Cotton farmers in the country are not required to sign any contract”.


“As per ground reality the last ten years

After Bt cotton officially entered India, its manufacturers and promoters would like the world to believe that it is an unqualified success. The false hype is typified by recent advertisements by Mahyco-Monsanto claiming “Bollgard boosts Indian cotton farmers’ income by over Rs.31,500 crores,” which was pulled up by Advertising Standards Council of India for false information. The reality is starkly different.

The cotton farmers are in deep crisis after ten years of Bt cotton. The spate of farmer suicides in 2011-12 has been particularly severe among Bt cotton farmers. The extensive crop failure has exposed the false hype and advertising, often repeated by policymakers and regulators. In Andhra Pradesh, out of 47 lakh acres planted with Bt cotton during Kharif 2011 season, the crop failed in 33.73 lakh acres as per the state government estimates in December 2011[1]. This means two-thirds of cotton area had yield loss of more than 50%! In Maharashtra, the bad performance of cotton crop has led to lowering of the production estimates significantly in spite of increase in the area of cotton cultivation.[2]. The cotton farmer crisis has forced the Maharashtra government to take the unprecedented step of declaring Rs.2000 crore as compensation package. Maharashtra has seen the highest number of farmer suicides (3141 in 2010), particularly in the cotton-growing belt of Vidarbha and Marathwada’’ Tiwari added.

“In India where more tah 2 lakhs farmers committed suicides due to debt and crop failure are from cotton growing region of India and state sponsored Bt cotton propaganda is that Bt cotton has been primarily responsible for doubling the cotton production in India, and for phenomenal increase in yields. However, closer examination of the data shows a different picture” Tiwari said by producing official data

Cotton Yield gains – Pre-Bt and Post-Bt

 
While Bt cotton was approved in 2002, the initial adoption was slow, and by 2004-05, only 5.6% of the cotton cultivated area was planted with Bt cotton. The graph below is based on yield data from Cotton Corporation of India[3] and area under Bt cotton adapted from Dr. K.R. Kranthi, Director of Central Institute of Cotton Research. Considering the period from 2000-01 as the pre-Bt Cotton expansion period and the phase from 2005-06 to 2011-12 as the Bt cotton period, a different picture of the yield gains emerges In the Bt cotton period starting from 2005-06, an increase in yield is seen for a couple of years, showing a moderate 17% increase over 3 years up to 2007-08 (554 kg/ha compared to 470 kg/ha). But the yields show a downward trend since then. Presently, the cotton yields have reached pre-Bt levels – 481 kg/ha compared to 470 kg/ha. In fact, the yield estimate of 481 kg/ha for 2011-12 is only an initial estimate from the Cotton Advisory Board and the actual number is likely to be lower.

This trend is corroborated in the paper of Dr. Keshav Kranthi (CICR) reviewing the 10 years of Bt Cotton. “The main issue that worries stakeholders is the stagnation of productivity at an average of 500 kg lint per ha for the past seven years. The gains have been stagnant and unaffected by the increase in area of Bt cotton from 5.6% in 2004 to 85% in 2010. The yield was 463 kg per hectare when the Bt cotton area was 5.6% in 2004 and reached a mere 506 kg per hectare when the area under Bt cotton increased to 9.4 M hectares at 85% of the total 11.1 M hectares.”

· The same paper provides numbers which show “progressive problems and stagnation of production and productivity” The data, shown pictorially indicates declining productivity, and the trend would be even clearer if the 2011 numbers are included. Please note that there are small differences in the numbers put out by the Cotton Advisory Board and CICR but these do not impact the trends.


High input requirement of Bt Cotton

The high-input requirements of Bt cotton in terms of fertilizers and water make the crop an increasingly risky investment for small farmers, particularly in rainfed areas which constitute a majority of the cotton-growing area in India. The depletion of nutrients and soil health is also a related problem.

Fertilizer requirement in Bt cotton and soil health: According to Dr C D Mayee (ISAAA Board Member) and former Co-Chair of GEAC, “If the area under advanced transgenic seeds increases to 10 per cent in a few years from the present level of 4 per cent, the country’s fertiliser consumption will increase 107 per cent to 220 kgs per hectare (ha) from the current levels (the latest available figure 2005-06), at 106 kgs per ha.” According to recommendations to farmers from ANGRAU, one of the few universities doing research on Bt cotton and Non-Bt cotton, Bt cotton requires 15% more fertilizers. (Agricultural Almanac, ANGRAU 2009) . According to Dr.Kranthi there has been depletion of nutrients in the soil due to repeated cultivation of Bt cotton hybrids, which draw more nutrients and water from the soil. The crop is exhibiting nutrient deficiency especially in rain-fed zones where wilt and leaf-reddening problems are also getting more severe over the years.

Irrigation and water requirement in Bt cotton
Bt hybrids need to be irrigated more frequently at peak bolling around October when the need for water is high and temperatures are also high. It may otherwise lead to wilting. Bt hybrids need more water in a short span because of shorter duration (reproductive phase) vis-à-vis conventional hybrids. This is problematic particularly in the rain-fed cotton areas.


Pesticide Usage, Pest Resistance and Emergence of New Pests

While Bt cotton came in with the promise of drastically reducing the use of pesticides in cotton, the experience of these 10 years shows that there is no sustained reduction in pesticide usage. The experience of farmers clearly shows that while a lower number of pesticide sprays was required in the first two years of Bt cotton adoption, thereafter the pesticide requirement has increased, and now the number of pesticide sprays required is equal to or more than that in the pre-Bt cotton period.


Table: Pesticide usage in Metric Tonnes technical grade.
Table: Pesticide usage in Metric Tonnes technical grade.
2005-06
2006-07
2007-08
2008-09
2009-10
Andhra Pradesh
1997
1394
1541
1381
1015
Gujarat
2700
2670
2660
2650
2750
Karnataka
1638
1362
1588
1675
1647
Maharashtra
3198
3193
3050
2400
4639
Punjab
5610
5975
6080
5760
5810
Madhya Pradesh
787
957
696
663
645
All India
39773
41515
43630
43860
41822


The pesticide usage trends in the major cotton-growing states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka are shown above. While Maharashtra shows a significant upward trend from 3198 MT to 4639 MT, the other states show only marginal change, except for the downward trend in Andhra Pradesh. Increased use of low-volume pesticides: This same period has seen an enormous increase in the use of low-volume pesticides which require a much smaller quantity per acre. Therefore, the statistics of pesticide usage in metric tonnes in fact masks the increased use of pesticides. Pink bollworm becomes resistant: In early 2010, Monsanto disclosed that the cotton pest -pink bollworm- had developed resistance to the Cry 1Ac toxin (Bt) in Bollgard I in Gujarat[10] (the first State where Bt cotton was planted commercially).
Bollworm resistance to Bt: Resistance monitoring studies done at CICR have demonstrated that bollworm (helicoverpa armigera), the target pest of Bt cotton, has developed tolerance for it. Other studies have also shown bollworm surviving and reproducing in Bt cotton both single gene and double gene Bt (Renjith et al, 2010). Emergence of secondary pests: In his 2011 report Dr.Kranthi states: “Productivity in north India is likely to decline because of the declining potential of hybrids; the emerging problem of leaf curl virus on the new susceptible Bt-hybrids; a high level of susceptibility to sucking pests (straight varieties were resistant); problems with nutrient deficiencies and physiological disorders; and mealy bugs, whiteflies and miscellaneous insect problems that are likely to increase.”

Mealy bug menace: According to Dr.Kranthi, a mealybug not observed in India before, has spread in the cotton regions and farmers have been spraying “extremely hazardous” pesticides to eliminate this hard-to-kill pest. The prolific spread of Bt cotton hybrids has created a conducive climate for the rapid spread of this pest.

Pesticide expenditure increases: At a meeting of the GEAC in early 2011, Dr KR Kranthi cautioned about the lack of refugia and resistance management. In his report to the MoEF, he said that with 90% of cotton area under Bt, resistance will develop sooner than later. There has been emergence of new sucking pests and pesticide expenditure has risen from Rs 597 crore in 2002 to Rs 791 crore in 2009”.

Manipulation by Seed Companies
Aggressive and unethical promotion: No other seed was sold like Bt cotton has been sold in the country by Mahyco-Monsanto.One such misleading advertisement was recently pulled up by Advertising Standards Council of India. [16] Paid news, advertorials with fake success stories have been exposed in 2011 in Maharashtra. Windfall profits for seed companies: Bt cotton cultivation in India is completely through hybrids and not through varieties and the seed is from proprietary sources; this means that farmers have to buy seed from companies every season. Bt cotton seed market is about Rs. 4000 cr. out of the total seed market of Rs. 10,000 crores.[17] In 2011, word spread from industry about projected shortage of Bt cotton seeds; so farmers bought seeds in black at prices up to Rs 2700, three times the MRP of Rs 930.
Monopolistic control over seed market: An estimated 93% of the seed represents the proprietary technology of Monsanto (Bollgard I and Bollgard II). Rs 1600 crores have gone from cotton farmers as royalty to one company, Monsanto.

Exorbitant Seed prices: The monopoly control by one company has led to exorbitant pricing of Bt cotton seeds which were initially priced between Rs 1650-1800 for 450 gms of Bt cotton seeds ( in 2004), as against Rs 350 for hybrid seeds and less than Rs 100 for desi cotton seeds.[18] After the seed prices were brought under control through the MRTP Act and Essential Commodities Act, Monsanto has taken the A.P. and Gujarat governments to Court to decontrol seed priced. the hype around Bt cotton as revolutionizing the cotton production in India is clearly wrong. The contribution of Bt cotton to the productivity is questionable, with gains in cotton productivity being steady and impressive in the pre-Bt cotton phase.
The wide-scale adoption of Bt cotton in India has been due to various reasons which include aggressive promotion, often with the involvement of state agencies, wide publicity to the initial short-term benefits with respect to bollworm incidence and frustration of farmers with pesticide usage, and unavailability of non-Bt seed. But the adoption of Bt cotton has been wrongly used as an indicator for its success. The distress among cotton farmers has clearly continued after widespread Bt cotton adoption, especially in rainfed areas – as shown by farmer suicides, crop failures and rising debt.
The negative impacts of Bt cotton are being clearly documented and articulated including by government scientists – nutrient depletion, impact on soil health, pest resistance, emergence of new pests – and these are already showing serious impact on the cotton crop and the farmers. However, no nuanced analysis is allowed to be established in the face of aggressive PR tactics of the proponents. It should be seen by policy-makers that Bt cotton has not been a magic bullet for sustaining either farmer incomes or productivity. At best, it is a technological input that has shown moderate short-term gains that have already disappeared. The Bt Cotton story holds clear precautionary lessons to reject similar hype around other Genetically Modified crops as the inevitable solution. There exist more sustainable and farmer-friendly solutions such as Non-Pesticidal Management in A.P. which has expanded through the state government’s Community Managed Sustainable Agriculture program registering a 125-fold increase in 6 years (from 25000 acres in 2005 to 32 lakh acres in 2011). There have been no suicides among the farmers who have adopted this model.

“The story of Bt cotton is clearly that of false hype and failed promises. Bt cotton has failed to meet its promise in terms of sustained yield gains, pest protection and reduction in pesticide usage. It is time for the government, scientists and policy-makers to reject the hype around Bt cotton, and focus on sustainable solutions and pro-farmer measures to achieve production, environmental safety and farmers’ welfare that are long-lasting” Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti (VJAS.) activist Kishore Tiwari urged .
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INPUT SOURCE=Coalition for a GM-Free India is a broad network of organizations, scientists, farmer unions and consumer groups. Contacts: Sridhar Radhakrishnan (convenor), 09995358205; Kavitha Kuruganti, 09393001550