The real success story of GM cotton and edible cotton oil in India 2002-2011

posted in: Syndicated | 143

A wonderful colorful and readable booklet about the success of Bt cotton in India has been made available from the ISAAA website for India.
A sample table from this booklet tells the story of the massive expansion of cotton output over the last 10 years.

Indian cotton production statistics this last decade

“Amidst the oilseed crisis, cotton is the only oilseeds crop that has shown a remarkable progress after the introduction of Bt cotton hybrids in 2002. In the last nine years, cottonseed has become an important source of oilseeds in the country. The production of cotton oil registered a three-fold increase from 0.46 million tons in 2002-03 to 1.20 million tons in 2010-11 (Table 3). “

In this decade, 2002 to 2011, Bt cotton has been successfully used as a multiple purpose crop in three ways: in the form of edible oil as food for human consumption; de-oiled cake as an animal feed; and kapas for fiber. The production of cotton seed, and its byproducts as oil and meal, has increased manifold from 0.46 million tons in 2002-03 to 1.20 million tons in 2010-11. As a result, Bt cotton meal (de-oiled cake) contributes one third of the country’s total demand for animal feed, whereas cotton oil contributes 13.7% of total edible oil production for human consumption in the country – a significant contribution which offsets more than half of the import bill for edible oil valued at US$6.5 billion annually. Increased production of Bt cotton oil could be one of the important strategies to substitute for edible oil imports which constitute more than 50% of the total edible oil consumption in the country. In 2009-10 India, for the first time ever, imported more edible oil, 8.80 million tons, than the 7.88 million tons it produced domestically. Due to the high nutritional content of cotton oil, Bt cotton oil is marketed after blending it with different edible oils. India is becoming increasingly dependent on expensive imports of vegetable oil, which is a valid strategic concern, and biotech Bt cotton and its second generation of stacked products, as a multipurpose crop for oil, fiber and feed, can play a critical role in Indian agriculture in the near, mid and long term future (James, 2010).

It is noteworthy that the by-products of Bt cotton, have been safely consumed as food and feed in India for nine years, without incident. Given this unblemished record, which is consistent with experience of more than 10 other countries world-wide, now maybe is the time for India to benefit from the application of the well-tested Bt technology in other crops.

Citation: Choudhary, B. and Gaur, K. (2011). Bt cotton in India: A multipurpose crop, ISAAA Biotech Information Centre, ISAAA, New Delhi, India


10 Years of Bt in India: Biotech Seeds Save Indian Market  
By K.R. Kranthi May 1, 2011 Cotton 24-7
Part II: 10 Years of Bt in India
By K.R. Kranthi May 1, 2011 Cotton 24-7

Other relevant posts at GMO Pundit (see also the “Cotton” and “India” tags)

Fluffy revolution
Financial Chronicle, India Sep 23 2009

For several years before the introduction of the new variety, cotton exports from India fluctuated between few thousands bales and one lakh bales. Within three years, exports moved to 5.8 million bales, peaking at 8.5 million in 2007-08 and earning foreign exchange worth Rs 8,366 crore. Compared with the other two top producers of cotton in the world, India’s performance is even more impressive. In 2002, the United States produced 17.2 million bales and China 25.2 million bales, according to figures published by the US department of agriculture. The spurt in India’s cotton production took it to 29 million bales in 2008-09, while the US declined to 13.52 million bales, having peaked at 23.89 in 2005-06. China produced 36. 5 million. From producing around 40 per cent of what China did, India has now touched a level of almost 70 per cent. Against the US, India’s output was 61 per cent

Roundup of Indian cotton statistics

International Food Policy Research Institute study on the possible connection between Bt cotton and farmer suicides in India
We first show that there is no evidence in available data of a “resurgence” of farmer suicides in India in the last five years. Second, we find that Bt cotton technology has been very effective overall in India. However, the context in which Bt cotton was introduced has generated disappointing results in some particular districts and seasons. Third, our analysis clearly shows that Bt cotton is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for the occurrence of farmer suicides. In contrast, many other factors have likely played a prominent role.

Related posts about Indian cotton:

Cotton farmer suicide linked to export controls?

Millions of poisonings avoided

Reduction in market share

The early years of the fluffy revolution

Doubly insect protected cotton expands in India.

The push from Indian Bt cotton

Maintaining the status quo not good enough for human development

Follow David Tribe:
David Tribe’s research career in academia and industry has covered molecular genetics, biochemistry, microbial evolution and biotechnology. He has over 60 publications and patents. Dr. Tribe's recent activities focus on agricultural policy and food risk management. He teaches graduate programs in food science and risk management as a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Agriculture and Food Systems, University of Melbourne.