India – organic pushed; cotton area climbs further

According to the Times of India the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh is making moves to shift towards organic production. State leaders hope to use organic farming methods to conserve soil fertility and create a more sustainable agricultural system. 

Concern over a rash of farmer suicides, many involving intentional intake of pesticides and debt, as well as reports of pesticides penetrating the country’s water tables, has driven the interest in organic farming. The stress on organic production includes the creation of a certification agency in the state to certify organic products. Other initiatives under consideration include a government-sponsored premium being offered for organic products and funds available for marketing organic products. Overall, Indian cotton plantings reached 6 million hectares. Of the 6 million ha, roughly 2.3 million are expected to be planted with genetically modified (GM) insect-resistant Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) varieties.  

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