/fontfamily>"This report of the government body confirms the claims by different studies conducted by civil society organisations and independent scientific bodies pointing to the failure of Bt cotton in 2004 season. It also justifies the claims of Andhra Pradesh Bt cotton growers for compensation for crop loss."
Despite this the Federation of Farmers Association (FFA), based in Andhra Pradesh, is calling for an extension of the approvals for Monsanto's Bt cotton, which caused the problems. But then the FFA's President previously proposed that the FFA become the operational arm in Andhra Pradesh of the Indian Crop Protection Association which represents India's leading agrochemical companies! (item 2)
1.Bt cotton prone to diseases: study
2.Federation of Farmers Association (India)
1.'AP cotton growers compensation claim for crop loss justified'
Bt cotton prone to diseases: study
ASHOK B SHARMA
Financial Express, May 1
NEW DELHI, MAY 1: A study conducted by a team of cotton experts from the government has noted that Bt cotton hybrids are susceptible to diseases like bacterial blight, alternaria leaf spot and grey mildew. Bacterial blight, alternaria leaf spot and grey mildew were the major diseases on cotton identified in central and southern parts of the country in 2004 season.
This report of the government body confirms the claims by different studies conducted by civil society organisations and independent scientific bodies pointing to the failure of Bt cotton in 2004 season. It also justifies the claims of Andhra Pradesh Bt cotton growers for compensation for crop loss.
The Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) has withheld its decision to extend the approval period for three varieties of Mahyco-Monsanto' Bt cotton, on getting adverse reports about its performance.
Farmers leader Mallareddy of AP Rythu Sangam has written to GEAC not to approve extension period for "three failed Bt cotton hybrids," while S Jaipal Reddy of the Federation of Farmers Association (FFA) has demanded immediate extension of the approval period. FFA and its leaders have entered into close partnership with the apex industry body, Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) and have floated Farmers-Industry Alliance.
All India Coordinated Cotton Improvement Project (AICCIP) in its annual report for the year 2004-05 said: The Bt cotton hybrid trials laid out in the central and south zone centres were assessed for the occurrences of Alternaria leaf spot, grey mildew and bacterial blight. A comparative study on the incidence of diseases on Bt and non-Bt cotton was carried out.
The results revealed that both Bt and non-Bt cotton hybrids are equally susceptible to bacterial blight, alternaria leaf spot and grey mildew. The results indicate that the presence of Bt gene does not have any impact on the nost susceptibility and disease development in the Bt cotton hybrids tested so far.
The AICCIP report added: "he outbreak of alternaria leaf blight and grey mildew disease in central and south zones was significant, especially in hybrids such as Bunny and certain Bt hybrids. The critical damage of these diseases at peak boll formation stage was quite threatening, while adequate pre-emptive control measures were taken by AICCIP by alerting the local state agricultural departments."
Three separate teams for evaluation of Bt cotton for north, central and south zones were constituted by AICCIP. The teams studied breeding, entomology and pahology.
Regarding the south zone, the AICCIP report said: "All the hybrids tried at Lam, Siruguppa and Coimbatore were statistically on par, whereas in Nandyal, Mech 12 Bt and Mech 162 Bt gave significantly higher seed cotton yield over NHH-44.
In Dharwad, Mech 184 Bt and RCH 2 Bt seems to be superior over Mech 162 Bt."
This means all cotton hybrids - whether Bt or non-Bt - had same yields as per the evaluations made in Lam, Siruguppa and Coimbatore. Only the evaluation done in Nandyal showed Bt hybrids having more yields than non-Bt varieties. The AICCIP study said the farmers practicing integrated pest management (IPM) benefited in net income and the number of pesticide sprays were reduced by nearly 50%.
2.Federation of Farmers Association (India)
Together with Kisan Coordination Committee, the Federation of Farmers' Associations (FFA), based in the city of Hyderabad in the Indian State of Andhra Pradesh, has been at the forefront of support for GM crops in India.
The FFA was inaugurated in December 1998 by Sharad Joshi, founder of Shetkari Sanghatana and the Kisan Coordination Committee.
The FFA is said to be an 'independent organisation representing some two million members from 500 farmers organisations in Andhra Pradesh'. However, the term 'federation' is employed loosely in India and, as with the Kisan Coordination Committee, the FFA's real constituency appears to be quite small and significantly different from that which it claims.
The FFA's President, P Chengal Reddy , has been described as speaking 'on behalf of small-holder farmers' but the FFA is a lobby for Andhra Pradesh's big commercial farmers.Chengal Reddy's family have long been a rightwing political force in Andhra Pradesh.
Chengal Reddy has had a close association with Monsanto. He is also known to have proposed that the FFA become the operational arm in Andhra Pradesh of The Indian Crop Protection Association (ICPA). The ICPA represents India's leading agrochemical companies.
The links page on the FFA's website is revealing. There are links to Monsanto and a number of other biotech corporations, to the far right International Policy Network and, perhaps most revealing, to Monsanto's Internet PR firm Bivings, under its previous name of Bivings Woodell Inc. The page also has a link to 'Tuskege University' (sic), which links to CS Prakash's agbioworld website.
In order to promote GM crops to farmers, legislators and others, in 1999 the FFA organised a workshop with the Administrative Staff College of India, at Hyderabad in Andhra Pradesh. Among the contributors was C S Prakash. In April 2000 Chengal Reddy shared a platform with Prakash at a pro-GM event organised by the Liberty Institute .
In 2003 S Jayapal Reddy, a member of the Executive Committee of the Federation of Farmers Associations, travelled to Europe as part of a 'Third World' GM lobby group, hosted by EuropaBio, which included Dr Luke Mumba from Zambia, TJ Buthelezi from South Africa and representatives of ISAAA and AfricaBio .
Chengal Reddy has also represented 'Third World farmers' on a number of occasions, including at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in 2002 where he was the guest of ISAAA and AfricaBio . Kisan Coordination Committee was also present and together with Reddy and TJ Buthelezi they participated in a carefully choreographed pro-GM demonstration.
Together with Kisan Coordination Committee and the Liberty Institute, the FFA was one of the chief lobbyists for the approval of GM crops in India.
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