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Maharashtra Farmers Sow 'Prohibited' HT Cotton to Protest Ban on Genetically Modified Crops

Representative image/ REUTERS

Representative image/ REUTERS

HT varieties of both cotton and brinjal are banned by the Maharashtra government since 2015 for fear that GM crops may have harmful impact on humans and the environment.

Jalna: Members of Shetakari Sanghtana, a farmers' organization, Thursday sowed aherbicide-tolerant (HT) variety of cotton which is banned in India by way of "civil disobedience" in Jalna district of Maharashtra.

The Sanghatana had announced that it was going to sow HT cotton to protest the ban on genetically modified (GM) crops.

HT cotton was sown at Revgaon in Jalna tehsil of the district, followed by a sit-in protest, the Sanghatana said in a statement. HT cotton does away with the need of manual weeding as farmers can use herbicides instead and save on labour charges.

Agriculture department officers took samples of the cotton that was sown to ascertain if it was a banned variety. HT varieties of both cotton and brinjal are banned by the Maharashtra government since 2015 for fear that GM crops may have harmful impact on humans and the environment.

Santosh Mohite, a member of the Sanghatana, argued that GM cotton and brinjal are permitted in many countries as they benefit farmers, and there is no evidence of any adverse impact of such crops.