Are there Benefits from the Cultivation of Bt Cotton? A Comment Based on Data from a Vidarbha Village
This note examines costs and returns from the cultivation of different types of cotton in a rainfed village in the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra, India. While the pros and cons of GM cotton are extensively debated, there are only a few empirical studies on the economic performance of Bt cotton, particularly under rainfed conditions. The results from a detailed survey of farm business incomes show that Bt cotton was a clear leader in terms of production and gross value of output when grown as a stand-alone crop. However, on the fields of small and marginal farmers, where cotton was usually intercropped with sorghum (or other cereals and pulses), the relative income advantage of Bt cotton declined. Further, expenditure on chemical pesticides was higher for Bt cotton than for other varieties of cotton. Variability in production was also higher for Bt cotton than for other types of cotton.
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