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Telangana clamps down on use of glyphosate to curb HT cotton

Telangana clamps down on use of glyphosate to curb HT cotton

Wed July 11 2018


In a bid to curb the illegal use of herbicide tolerant cotton (or Bt3), the Telangana government has put severe restrictions on the use of glyphosate, a controversial herbicide, in the State.


It has asked the pesticide dealers not to sell the herbicide, which is used in HT cotton crops, without a recommendation slip from the relevant Agriculture Extension Officer.


Unapproved technology


A Government Order has warned that any violations will be dealt with severely.


The herbicide-tolerant cotton, or HT cotton, is a third generation biotechnology developed by Monsanto which lets the cotton plant to withstand the herbicide sprays intended to kill the weed. Glyphosate is used in HT crops to kill the weed.


This technology has not received the GEAC’s (Genetic Engineering Approval Committee) permission for commercial use. Its use, however, has been rampant in several parts of the country. With the pink bollworm developing resistance to Bollgard-II, farmers have looked at HT or Bt3 as a saviour.


Telangana farmers alone grew HT cotton on about 15 lakh acres last year, which was one-third of the total cotton area of 45 lakh acres that year. Andhra Pradesh, which is also a major cotton growing State, filed cases against two cottonseed firms after raids on some farmers’ fields tested positive for HT cotton. The Telangana government too said it won’t allow the illegal Bt to be grown.


Central team


With reports of HT crop emanating from different parts of the country, a Central team visited both the States last year.


“We have noticed that some cottonseed companies are producing and selling the HT cottonseed to innocent farmers in the current season. We have issued orders calling for restrictive usage of glyphosate in agricultural and horticultural crops in general and cotton in particular to curb the spread of HT cotton,” C Parthasarathi, Principal Secretary (Agriculture), Govt of Telangana, said.



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