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Posted at: Apr 24, 2017, 12:36 AM; last updated: Apr 24, 2017, 12:36 AM (IST)

Farmers return to BT cotton after experiment with desi variety fails


  • Haryana and Punjab had constituted a five-member joint committee under Dr Baldev Singh Dhillon, Vice-Chancellor, Punjab Agriculture University, Ludhiana, comprising Dr KS Khokhar, then VC of Chaudhary Charan Singh Haryana Agriculture University (HAU) and Dr Dilip Monga, Director, Central Institute of Cotton Research (CICR), to look for ways to tackle the whitefly in 2015. It urged the farmers to sow desi cotton, besides making several other recommendations to the governments of the two states.
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Deepender Deswal

Tribune News Service

Hisar, April 23

After the experiment with the desi cotton failed to bear fruits, farmers are returning to the BT cotton in the next kharif season.

While there is no taker for the desi cotton seed available with the government agencies, the BT cotton seed is being sold at a premium in the open market, as the seed is not available with the Haryana Seeds Development Corporation.

The farmers say due to high demand, BT cotton varieties were being sold at premium rate by the private seed sellers in the open market. On the other hand, they said, there were no takers for the desi varieties.

“The farmers prefer three varieties of BT cotton— 773, 776 and US 21. Due to high demand, the seed traders have been manipulating the market to create a shortage. Though some unscrupulous elements succeeded in selling these varieties at a premium of Rs 200 per packet above the MRP, the market has stabilised now and these vareties are also available at the MRP of Rs 800,” says a seed trader in Hisar.

Anil Kumar, assistant marketing officer of the Haryana Seeds Development Corporation, says the desi varieties are in low demand this time. “Just 120 packets have been sold till. Last year, I had sold 1,400 packets,” he says, maintaining that the corporation will make some varieties of BT cotton available to the farmers soon.

Farmers say good BT cotton crop in the last kharif season had turned the farmers back to these varieties, as desi cotton was not even able to recover the input cost.

Zile Singh, a farmer from Bir Babran village who sowed desi cotton last time after he lost the BT cotton to the whitefly two years ago, said he was returning to BT cotton this time again.


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