Industry And Cluster | News & Insights

Main Concerns for the Use of Glyphosate in HT Cotton

Published: June 29, 2020
Author: Millionaires

 

HYDERABAD: With the state government keen on cotton cultivation in 70 lakh acres as part of regulated farming, fears of farmers using herbicide glyphosate are growing. In the recent raids, glyphosate stocks were seized from the fields where the herbicide-tolerant cotton or HT cotton was being cultivated.

 

In the raids, officials have also seized 11 lakh quintals of spurious seeds, of which 10 lakh quintals were of HT cotton spurious seed. Sources said traders are importing seeds from Maharashtra, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh owing to shortage of seeds. “In a bid to save on high costs of labour and related expenditure, farmers are resorting to cultivate banned varieties of seed. Farmers’ usage of glyphosate will increase to get a higher yield,” said agriculture officials.

Farmers had cultivated HT cotton in 10 lakh acres last year. The Telangana government, a few years ago, had imposed severe restrictions on the use of glyphosate and asked pesticide dealers to not sell the herbicide, which is used in HT cotton, without a recommendation slip from the agriculture extension officer (AEO) concerned. A GO issued then had also warned that any violations would be dealt with severely.

GV Ramanjaneyulu, agro scientist, Rythu Swarajya Vedika, said glyphosate is not recommended for any crop, including cotton. “Because of increased cotton cultivation, farmers resort to increased usage of the herbicide which is not recommended,” he said and warned that high levels of glyphosate toxicity is harmful for humans. “During its spray, the herbicide’s remains find their way into the food chain which can cause cancer and liver, kidney or neurological diseases,” he explained.

Officials said use of glyphosate had increased only in last few years after HT cotton was preferred by farmers. HT cotton is a third-generation variety which lets the cotton plant withstand the herbicide sprays intended to kill weed. Glyphosate is used mainly in HT crops to kill the weed.

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