To follow up on your articles, Organic Cotton Beats Bt Cotton in India ( SiS 27) and Message from Andra Predesh: Return to organic cotton & avoid the Bt cotton trap ( SiS 29), I enclose photographs of mealy bugs infested cotton plants in the demonstration plots of different seed companies in Vidarbha: Ganga Kavari, Paras Bbhrahma, and Banny. All of the plots have the Bollgard label. These mealy bugs have never been in our region on any plants before Bt cotton was introduced. I learned about the devastation of cotton in China two years ago. This alerted me to photograph and video the demonstration plots regularly. So, anybody can say with confidence now that the mealy bug has entered Vidarbha cotton fields through the Bt cottonseed.
Now when the cotton plants have died, the mealy bug is shifting to nearby plants. By mid June, farmers will go for the new cotton crop or plant another crop. But before that, the bug will have multiplied like any thing. It has shifted to Congress weed nearby, and many other weeds and plants in gardens.
At the same time I am studying the sudden death of plants. The new generation cotton seeds, called ‘Research Hybrid seeds'; are all male sterile. In short, they are terminator seeds; and proven by the high-level government committee in 1993. I have the report of it. The breeder then published an article advising farmers that they should not use the F2 seeds of such hybrids, as the plants coming out of them are 100 percent sterile. Your article, Killing Fields Near You ( ISIS News 7/8) confirmed this for me.
I am an organic farmer residing at Yavatmal in the state of Maharashtra. Our organisation, Vidarbha Organic Farmers Association, has been propagating organic farming since 1994. We have been helped a lot by Dr Vandana Shiva. She was the first person to tell us about about terminators. Right now, we are working for her organisation Navdanya.
Ram Kalaspurkar , organic farmer, Vidarbha Organic Farmers Association, Yavatmal, Maharashtra, India
Bt cotton plant infested with mealy bugs
Close-up of big mealy bug on Bt cotton plant
Other plant infested with mealy bug
Article first published 12/05/08
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