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MARCH 2009



Bt cotton gives a new lease of life to Vidarbha farmers

Yavatmal (Maha) (PTI): Nandkishore Raut, a farmer from suicide-hit Vidarbha region, is a happy man today. He owns over six acres of land, a pucca house, a bike, a mobile, sends his children to school and has no debts to repay.

Raut, hailing from Bhamraja village in Yavatmal district, is among the growing number of farmers whose lives have changed for the better with the use of Bollgard Bt cotton technology in Vidarbha, plagued by farmer suicides.

Raut is one of the many of farmers in this region, who have switched on to Bollgard and are reaping rich benefits from it.

"Before 2005, with the conventional (non-Bt) seeds, the yield was maximum 4 quintals per acre. Now, with Bt, on an average it is 12 quintals," said Raut, who owns eight acres of land, of which two acres was purchased recently.

The spending on each acre is Rs 10-15,000 whereas the earnings Rs 30-40,000 resulting in a profit of at least Rs 20,000 per acre, he said.

The difference is evident not only in the quantity of the yield but also in the quality of life he leads.

Other farmers were quick to emulate him and be a part of the success story.

Also, farmers in Maharashtra earned an additional Rs 4,000 crore in 2006 by planting Bt cotton, which has given a new lease of life to farmers in Vidharbha, which has witnessed nearly 5,000 farmer suicides so far.