The Adoption and Economics of Bt Cotton in India: Preliminary Results from a Study
Gandhi, Vasant P.
Namboodiri, N. V.
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The paper presents preliminary results from a study of the economics and adoption of Bt cotton in India. Biotech crops, which made their appearance in the world about a decade ago, have gained substantial popularity and acceptance in many parts of the world including US, China, Australia, Mexico, Argentina and South Africa. However, their introduction in India has been relatively late and controversial and they still have considerable ground to cover in the country. Cotton is a major commercial crop in India but has substantial problems particularly from extensive pest damage and poor yields. Bt cotton offers a promising solution to these serious problems. Data from the survey, which covered the important cotton states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, and 694 farmers, indicates that Bt cotton offers good resistance to bollworms as well as several other pests. The incidence of these pests is reported to be considerably lower in Bt cotton as compared to Non-Bt cotton. The yields of Bt cotton are found to be higher and the yield increase/ difference statistically significant in all the states under both irrigated and rain-fed conditions. As a result, given the good market acceptance of the product, the value of output per hectare is higher in all the states and conditions. The question of higher cost of cultivation exists, and is confirmed, mainly because of high seed cost and not commensurate reduction in pesticide cost. However, the profit is found to be higher in all the states to the estimated extent of about 80-90 percent on an average when the effects of associated inputs are included. The returns are highest in Maharashtra followed by Gujarat and then Andhra Pradesh. Subjective assessment indicates that farmers see advantage in Bt cotton in pest incidence, pesticide cost, cotton quality, yield and profit. Almost all farmers indicate that they plan to plant Bt cotton in the future. To increase the benefits from the technology, the farmers strongly urge reduction in the seed cost, greater field extension and demonstration work on the correct practices, and more Bt cotton varieties to suit the diverse agro-ecological settings.
- Working Papers