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 Despite Industry Claims, Insect Resistant GE Crops Will Not Reduce Toxic Pesticide Use 
 
by Organic Consumers Association - 2/8/2006

In contrast, rather than relying on one technology or method of pest control, IPM encourages farmers to alternate between chemicals that work in different ways. This so-called 'mortality-source diversification' helps prevent pests from developing resistance as quickly as they would if faced with a single toxin.

Advocates of Bt cotton ‹ and government officials responsible for regulating its use ‹ argue that resistance can be slowed by planting 'refuges' of non-Bt cotton, on the basis that this will encourage the survival of insects that are susceptible to the Bt toxin.

In India, however, it is difficult to impose this requirement, given the small size of many farmers' plots. Furthermore such 'biosafety' measures are also very difficult to monitor and enforce ‹ indeed, there is evidence in India that refuges are not in fact being implemented. [4]

The danger is that the widespread use of Bt varieties and other insect-resistant crops will lead to a rise in the number of resistant pests, which will in turn mean that the environment is subject to an ever-higher volume of spraying, and more poor farmers are driven to despair.

The cost is too high. Insect-resistant GM crops have no place in a rational pest management strategy

G. V. Ramanjaneyulu is executive director of the Centre for Sustainable Agriculture, Hyderabad, India.

References

[1] Ramanjaneyulu G.V. et al. (2004) No PesticidesŠNo PestsŠ. Centre for Sustainable Agriculture, Secunderabad, India (2004)

[2] Benedict J.H., Ring D.R. Transgenic crops expressing Bt proteins: Current status, challenges and outlook. In: Koul O., Dhaliwal G.S., eds. Transgenic Crop Protection: Concepts and strategies.Oxford University Press and IBH Publishing Co, New Delhi (2004)

[3] Kranthi K.R. et al. Temporal and intra-plant variability of Cry1Ac expression in Bt-cotton and its influence on the survival of the cotton bollworm, Helicoverpa armigera (Hübner) (Noctuidae: Lepidoptera). Current Science 89, 2 291-299 (2005)

[4] Central Institute for Cotton Research (CICR). Report on Bt Cotton in India. http://envfor.nic.in (2004)

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Provided by Organic Consumers Association on 2/8/2006
 
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