Bt cotton farmers earn 68% lower incomes, new study says (4/4/2006)

1.Maharashtra Bt cotton farmers earn 68% lower incomes


This study shows that Maharashtra's Bt cotton farmers' earnings are massively less than those of non-Bt cotton farmers. This has led to a call for:

* an immediate ban on Bt Cotton in the state of Maharashtra;

* the companies to be made liable for false marketing;

* immediate compensation for all Bt Cotton farmers who have incurred losses.

Unfortunately, for the 300+ Bt cotton farmers in Maharashtra's cotton heartland of Vidharba who have taken their own lives in despair at the losses they've suffered, any recompense is already too late.

QUOTE: "The average net income of Bt Cotton farmers in the study was lower than Rs. (Rupees) 3000/acre, whereas they were expecting around Rs. 24,000/- to Rs. 23,000/- per acre as per the companies promises."

1.India : Maharashtra Bt cotton farmers earn 68% lower incomes, says YUVA
April 4, 2006

The YUVA today release the findings of a scientific study, which compares the performance of Bt Cotton along various parameters of cost, pest incidence, yields, other effects etc., with non-Bt Cotton grown in similar conditions in the state of Maharashtra.

Bt Cotton: Higher investment for better results

"While yields of non-Bt Cotton are marginally lower than Bt Cotton, the Cost of Cultivation is 23.5% higher in the case of Bt Cotton.

Non-Bt Cotton has also fetched marginally better prices for the farmers than Bt Cotton. Due to all of this, overall, non-Bt Cotton farmers have obtained more net incomes than Bt Cotton farmers.

This is 68% more income than Bt Cotton farmers. Our report only reiterates the state government's comparative analysis of non-Bt, IPM, Organic, and Bt Cotton which shows that the cost of cultivation of IPM and organic cotton are significantly lower than Bt Cotton," said Palash Ghoshal (YUVA), the Principal Investigator of the study.

The Cost of Cultivation data also shows a difference not only in the seed cost between Bt Cotton and non-Bt Cotton, but also in terms of fertiliser cost (around 21% lower in non-Bt Cotton) and pesticide cost.

In fertilizer application, while the average was 2.06 for non-Bt Cotton, for Bt Cotton, an average number of 2.56 applications of fertilizer contributed to the results seen Bt Cotton.

Increased water requirement for better results.

The study also showed that the performance of the Bt Cotton improved with irrigation.

Irrigation caused an increase of around 40 kilos per acre compared to the general average.

It is also interesting to note that when it comes to pesticide use cost on Irrigated Bt Cotton and Unirrigated Bt Cotton, the difference was to the tune of Rs. 427/- per acre, with irrigated Bt Cotton costing Rs. 220/- more than its unirrigated counterparts. A margin of Rs. 300/- was present even in the fertilizer cost, with irrigated non-Bt Cotton costing lesser than irrigated Bt Cotton on this front.

Bt Cotton: Increased land holding for better results

While the average yields for Bt Cotton were 4.97 for the entire sample, the average yield of the largest landowners was 5.97 quintals per acre.

Similarly, their cost of cultivation was also high at an average of Rs. 7099.75 per acre, compared to Rs. 6270 for the general sample of Bt Cotton farmers. In the case of non-Bt Cotton farmers, the average yield of the 4 largest landowners in the sample [at 4.63 quintals an acre] was marginally lower than the general average for non-Bt Cotton farmers [at 4.70 quintals an acre].

"Their average net income of Bt Cotton farmers in the study was lower than Rs. 3000/acre, whereas they were expecting around Rs. 24,000/- to Rs. 23,000/- per acre as per the companies promises.

Calculated like this, the magnitude of losses for Bt Cotton farmers in Maharashtra in just these four study districts, where around 4.5 lakh acreshas been sown with approved Bt Cotton, is to the tune of 1080 crores of rupees.

Monopolized, unpredictable technologies like Bt Cotton with its massive reliance on inputs [] is precisely what pushed Vidharba farmers into indebtedness and finally suicide", said Datta Patil, YUVA.


* Ban on Bt Cotton in the sate of Maharashtra and arrest permissions for commercial cultivation of any new varieties.

* The companies made liable for false marketing and immediate compensation to be paid to all Bt Cotton farmers who have incurred losses.

YUVA India


A new study has found that the collective loss incurred by Bt cotton farmers in Andhra Pradesh was a massive 400 crores of rupees - over 80 million US dollars. Interestingly, the government's own assessment of Bt cotton backs up several of this study's findings.

The study used a comparative design to compare the results from Bt cotton fields with those of NPM (Non Pesticidal Management)/organic cotton farmers from four districts. The findings showed that the cost of cultivation per acre on Bt cotton was around 67% higher than NPM/organic cotton, while the net incomes were lower in Bt cotton by at least 37% compared to NPM/organic cotton.

Gene Campaign has also conducted a field study to analyse the performance of Bt cotton and non-Bt cotton in Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh. The study found:

Go to a Print friendly Page

Email this Article to a Friend

Back to the Archive