GM cotton seeds a threat to Indian farmers

(Mr./Dr. Dionys Forster from FiBL has sent us this note. As always, does not necessarily subscribe to any views, but the information is posted for members’ perusal. Please contact the authors directly for any questions.)

GM cotton seeds a threat to Indian farmers

Extensive use of genetically modified (GM) cotton seeds is destroying agricultural bio-diversity and jeopardising the livelihood of over four million cotton growers in India. In a common declaration, concerned stakeholders committed themselves to join forces to promote non-GM and organic cotton.

(Frick, July 6, 2011) India has become the largest organic cotton producer worldwide with the number of organic cotton projects increasing throughout the country. Conversely, in 2010 more than 80 percent of India’s cotton area used genetically modified Bt-cotton seeds. On account of this, the seed supply chain of non-GM cotton genotypes has become delinked. Since the private and also many public sectors have largely stopped producing non-GM cotton seed, the supply of non-GM seed to the remaining 20 percent of farmers, including organic cotton projects, has become of critical concern. If no measures are taken to halt this process, the number of years for non-GM cotton seed production is numbered. The absolute dominance of GM-cotton production will not only threaten India’s organic cotton sector, but will also reduce genetic diversity, which in the long run will affect the agroecosystem equilibrium.

Intensive research needed

Initiated by the University of Agricultural Sciences Dharwad (UAS Dharwad), bioRe India (Ltd) and the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL Switzerland), a national workshop was held in Dharwad (India) at the end of June bringing together over fifty participants from leading research institutes and organizations, including UAS Dharwad, Central Institute for Cotton Research (CICR) in Nagpur, various Indian organic cotton groups and representatives from the textile and the seed industry. In a common declaration signed by concerned stakeholders, ways to overcome the present crisis in seed supply is presented. Furthermore, a decision was made to form a national organizational body for organic cotton focusing on the immediate actions necessary to overcome the cotton seed crisis. “We need intensive research on developing varieties for organic and low-input conditions and combined efforts to re-establish the seed value chain for non-GM cotton”, underlines FiBL scientist Dionys Forster.


Dionys Forster, International Division, Project leader agricultural systems comparison India, Tel. +41 (0)62 865 0452

Monika Messmer, Project leader breeding for organic an low-input farming,
Tel. +41 (0)62 865 0443

Jacqueline Forster-Zigerli, Media Relations, Tel. +41 (0)62 865 7271,

Download of this media release
This media release is available at

Thank you and best regards,

Dionys Forster


Dionys Forster (Mr)
Agronomist, PhD
International Division
Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL)
CH-5070 Frick, Switzerland
Phone: +41 (0)62 865 7272
Phone direct: +41 (0)62 865 0452

press-release-india-110706.pdf (69.9 KB)

Genetically modified food is banned at a MONSANTO canteen

Genetically modified food is banned at a canteen of its biggest producer Monsanto. Granada Group, which runs the canteen at Monsanto’s pharmaceuticals factory at High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire, serves only GM-free meal, says a report by The Independent.

Granada Group said it had decided to remove GM soya and maize from all food products served in its restaurant. “We have taken the above steps to ensure that you, the customer, can feel confident in the food we serve.”

Monsanto spokesperson Tony Coombes told the newspaper that the only reason for the GM-free food is because the firm “believes in choice”. He added that employees are happy to eat GM food as they are “sprayed with fewer chemicals”.

Conservation group Friends of Earth says, “The public has made its concerns about GM ingredients very clear. Now it appears that even Monsanto’s own catering firm has no confidence in this technology.”

Think again and again before you going for GM seeds, after all you may not living for money than life. :astonished: