Bt Cotton in India Is a GMO Template for a ‘Monumental Irreversible Catastrophe’ – Global Research

bt-cotton-in-india-is-a-gmo-template-for-a-‘monumental-irreversible-catastrophe’-–-global-research

29-09-20 03:21:00,

Cotton is the only genetically modified (GM) crop that has been officially approved in India and has been cultivated (illegally then legally) in the country for more than 20 years. Although GM mustard has been approved for commercial cultivation by India’s apex regulatory body for GM crops (the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee, GEAC), a public interest litigation led by Aruna Rodrigues is before the Supreme Court challenging that decision and commercialisation of the crop is on hold.

The push to drive GM food crops into India has been happening for many years. Back in February 2010, the government placed an indefinite moratorium on the release of Bt brinjal after numerous independent scientific experts from India and abroad had pointed out safety concerns.

Minister Jairam Ramesh therefore rejected the commercialisation of Bt brinjal. He imposed a moratorium on its release till such time independent scientific studies establish the safety of the product from the point of view of its long-term impact on human health and the environment, including the rich genetic wealth existing in brinjal in India.

The moratorium has not been lifted and the conditions Ramesh set out have still not been met. Regulatory processes have been shown to lack competency, possess endemic conflicts of interest and demonstrate a lack of expertise in GMO risk assessment protocols, including food safety assessment and the assessment of environmental impacts.

Not to be deterred by any of this, the GEAC is now facilitating final-stage trials of a new Bt brinjal (event 142). It also seems dismissive of the Supreme Court-appointed Technical Expert Committee (TEC) Final Report in 2013 which was scathing about the prevailing regulatory system for GM crops. As a result, the TEC recommended a 10-year moratorium on the commercial release of all GM crops.

Immediately after the 2010 moratorium was announced, the GEAC carried on regardless and went straight ahead and sanctioned fresh trials for the new Bt brinjal. It appears that developers-cum-lobbyists were actually sitting on regulatory bodies as event 142 was proceeding, granting biosafety clearance and claiming all tests are complete, despite data being kept out of the public domain.

I recently contacted Aruna Rodrigues to discuss the current situation.

***

Colin Todhunter: The government has asserted that hybrid insecticidal Bt cotton in India has been an outstanding success and argues that it is a template for the introduction of GM food crops.

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From Cotton to Brinjal: Fraudulent GMO Project in India Sustained by Deception – Global Research

from-cotton-to-brinjal:-fraudulent-gmo-project-in-india-sustained-by-deception-–-global-research

31-08-20 10:14:00,

Insecticidal Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) cotton is the first and only GM (genetically modified) crop that has been approved in India. It has been cultivated in the country for more than 20 years. In a formal statement to the Supreme Court of India, the Indian government has asserted that hybrid Bt cotton is an outstanding success. It therefore argues that Bt cotton is a template for the introduction of GM food crops.

However, over the last week, two important webinars took place that challenged the government’s stance. The first was on Bt cotton and involved a panel of internationally renowned scientists who conclusively debunked the myth of Bt cotton success in India. The webinar, organised by the Centre for Sustainable Agriculture and Jatan, focused on an evidence-based evaluation of 18 years of approved Bt cotton cultivation in India.

The second webinar discussed the case of Bt brinjal, which the country’s apex regulatory body, the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC), has brought to the brink of commercialisation. The webinar highlighted deep-seated problems with regulatory processes in India and outlined how the GEAC is dogged by secrecy, conflicts of interest and (scientific) fraud: participants outlined how the GEAC has been colluding with crop developers and seed companies to drive GM crops into agriculture.

Bt cotton failure

The panel for the Bt cotton webinar (YouTube: Bt Cotton in India: Myths & Realities – An Evidence-Based Evaluation) on 24 August included Dr Andrew Paul Gutierrez, senior emeritus professor in the College of Natural Resources at the University of California at Berkeley; Dr Keshav Kranthi, former director of Central Institute for Cotton Research in India; Dr Peter Kenmore, former FAO representative in India, and Dr Hans Herren, World Food Prize Laureate.

Dr Herren said that “the failure of Bt cotton” is a classic representation of what an unsound science of plant protection and faulty direction of agricultural development can lead to.

He explained:

“Bt hybrid technology in India represents an error-driven policy that has led to the denial and non-implementation of the real solutions for the revival of cotton in India, which lie in HDSS (high density short season) planting of non-Bt/GMO cotton in pure line varieties of native desi species and American cotton species.”

He argued that a transformation of agriculture and the food system is required;

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Washington FDA Says, ‘Let Them Eat Cotton’ | New Eastern Outlook

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29-10-19 05:43:00,

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US Government regulators have approved a genetically modified cotton variety as a “potential solution to human hunger.” The radical decision is to permit consumption by humans, in addition to animals, of seeds of a GMO cotton developed at Texas A&M University, with no independent long-term testing. It opens grave new concerns about the safety of our food chain. Soon, as a result, the world food chain may well be contaminated with the GMO cottonseeds whose dangers have been simply ignored by authorities.

The USA Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has just approved a new type of GMO cotton for unregulated release. The type, called TAM66274, has been genetically modified supposedly to make the seeds fit for human or animal feed by suppressing the presence of a dangerous toxin in the seed, while allegedly leaving the toxin only in the rest of the cotton plant.

With FDA approval the GMO cottons seeds will now be allowed as food for people or animals. The project has been led by Keerti Rathore, a plant biotechnology protégé of the late Norman Borlaug, at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research Center.

Rathore says the group will now seek approval in other countries starting with Mexico. He calculates that, “There are approximately 10.8 trillion grams of protein locked up in the annual global output of cottonseed. This is enough to meet the basic protein requirements of over 500 million people at a rate of 50 grams of protein per person per day.” He says the GMO cottonseeds can also be used to feed pigs, poultry or farmed fish or shrimp. His group sees it as a major new source of protein for consumption, as well as profit for cotton growers. It is not surprising that Cotton Inc., the US cotton lobby group is sponsoring the GMO project.

Cotton Inc. and Monsanto have a history of cooperation as well. Rathore says for every pound of cotton fiber, the plant produces about 1.6 pounds of seed. The annual global cottonseed production equals about 48.5 million tons. If that can now be turned into cottonseed oil or meal for human and animal consumption and sold, it adds a huge profit boost to cotton producers. The world’s largest purveyor of cotton seeds for planting cotton is Monsanto,

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Genetically Engineered Bt Cotton: Reckless Gamble for Profit that Placed Indian Cotton Farmers in Corporate Noose – Global Research

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26-12-18 10:23:00,

The dubious performance (failure) of genetically engineered Bt cotton, officially India’s only GM crop, should serve as a warning as the push within the country to adopt GM across a wide range of food crops continues. This article provides an outline of some key reports and papers that have appeared in the last few years on Bt cotton in India.

In a paper that appeared in December 2018 in the journal Current Science, P.C. Kesavan and M.S. Swaminathan cited research findings to support the view that Bt insecticidal cotton has been a failure in India and has not provided livelihood security for mainly resource-poor, small and marginal farmers. This paper was not just important because of its content but also because M.S. Swaminathan is considered to be the father of the Green Revolution in India.

The two authors provided evidence that indicates Bt crops are unsustainable and have not decreased the need for toxic chemical pesticides, the reason for these GM crops in the first place.

The authors cite the views of Dr K.R. Kranthi, former Director of the Central Institute for Cotton Research in Nagpur. Based on his research, he concluded in December 2016:

“Bt-cotton plus higher fertilizers plus increased irrigation also received a protective cover from the seed treatment of neonicotinoid insecticides such as imidacloprid, without which majority of the Bt-cotton hybrids which were susceptible to sucking pests would have yielded far less. It can safely be said that yield increase in India would not have happened with Bt-cotton alone without enhanced fertilizer usage, without increased irrigation, without seed treatment chemicals, and the absence of drought-free decade.”

In effect, levels of insecticide use are now back to the pre-Bt era as is productivity due to pest resistance and crop failures.

Following on from this, an April 2018 paper in the journal Pest Science Management indicates there has been progressive bollworm resistance to Bt cotton in India over a seven-year period. The authors conclude:

“High PBW [pink bollworm] larval recovery on Bt‐II in conjunction with high LC50 values for Cry1Ac and Cry2Ab in major cotton‐growing districts of central and southern India provides evidence of field‐evolved resistance in PBW to Bt‐I and Bt‐II cotton.”

This alongside other problems related to Bt cotton has had disastrous consequences for farmers.

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