STAFF REPORT IBD: The growing cultivation of Bacillus Thuringiensis (BT) cotton, especially in Punjab, has decreased the area under wheat and sugarcane cultivation due to relatively longer germination period of BT cotton.
“BT cotton is gaining popularity in Punjab and its growing cultivation is having a negative impact on other crops particularly wheat and sugarcane because of long germination period of BT cotton. Normal cotton takes about six months to BT cotton’s 10 months,” an official at the National Agriculture Research Council (NARC) said.
He said that due to the long germination period of BT cotton majority of farmers who previously sowed normal cotton for six months and sowed sugarcane or wheat for the rest of the year are unable to do so.
This, he maintained, would lead to shortages of wheat and sugar in the market. The official said that to avoid such a crisis the government needs to devise a policy to ensure adequate output of wheat, cotton and sugarcane in the country.
The government needs to strictly implement such a policy otherwise the country will face serious food shortage while demand for food is increasing due to rapidly growing population, he said.

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