World agriculture is passing through a distinct phase of transformation, called the ‘second Green Revolution’ or Gene Revolution, in which modern biotechnology enables the production of genetically modified (GM) crops/ foods that are claimed to help resolve the pressing problems of food security, malnutrition and abject poverty in different parts of the world. However, there are apprehensions the world over that the GM technology as it unveils may have harmful consequences on sustainable livelihoods in view of the potential threats to food security and subsequent environmental and health challenges. Set in this broader context of GM tech induced agrarian transformation, this paper tries examining some of the potential challenges emerging from the unscrupulous expansion of GM crops in India with reference to Bt cotton. In doing so, the paper draws useful insights from the empirical evidences of the dynamics of Bt cotton adoption in the dominant cotton rowing states of Maharashtra and Gujarat in India. The analysis is based on farm household data gathered from five leading cotton growing districts in the two states. The paper observes that there is no clear way forward to sustain the initial dynamism cast by the introduction of Bt technology in India. A bright future for Indian agriculture with the presence of GM technology in general and Bt technology in particular, would essentially call for many reforms, development strategies and institutional and policy interventions covering a wide spectrum of activities ranging from restructuring the input markets to the output markets. India need also to learn from the experiences of other countries with respect to the performance of GM technology and evolve carefully devised strategies and action plans, which presuppose creation of new institutional or regulatory regimes or reinventing the existing ones so as to make a sustainable impact of the technology on the livelihoods of millions of cotton farmers as well as the century old cotton production sector in India
Dr. Viswanathan P. K., “GM technology and sustainable agriculture future: Empirical evidences from Bt cotton farmers in Maharashtra and Gujarat in India ”, Journal of Development & Agricultural Economics, vol. 2, no. 1, pp. 007-017, 2010.