Chandigarh: Farmers associations of Punjab and Haryana today demanded allowing use of biotech crops in the country, claiming that genetically modified (GM) crops would raise farm productivity as well as their income.
"We face several challenges related to farm productivity like lack of availability of timely farm labour, high labour costs, insects, weeds diseases, unpredictable water and nutrient availability.
"GM crops can offer us solutions to these problems. Above all, GM crops will help in raising yield of our crops as witnessed in case of Bt cotton and income of growers," P S Pangli of PAU Kisan Club told reporters here.
Farmers representing All India Coordinate Committee of Farmers Association, Fatehabad Kisan Club and Naujwan Kisan Club and other farm outfits also suggested that GM crops could be introduced in pulses, mustard, corn and maize as yield of these crops was quite low in the country.
They said GM crops have in-built protection capability against harmful insects, enabling farmers to efficiently get rid of weeds and other diseases, thus leading to higher output.
Citing an example of Bt Cotton, Ravi Kant, a cotton grower, in Fazilka said that because of Bt cotton seeds, country’s cotton output has doubled while usage of pesticides dropped sharply.
"Our pesticides usage has reduced as we spray much less pesticides to tackle bollworms, the main pest which attacks cotton used to cause maximum yield loss. But now our yield has gone up manifold with the use of Bt cotton seeds," he said.