STAFF REPORT IBD: The Studies on Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) cotton have acknowledged that farmers in Pakistan are not making the most of Bt cotton because the Bt varieties were developed by various private sector plant breeders by transferring Bt trait to locally developed cotton varieties and these varieties are distributed without a formal regulatory framework which raises several concerns about the seed quality.

According to the State Bank of Pakistans recent report unavailability of resistant cotton variety is major reason of low cotton yield and despite introduction of (Bt) cotton. CLCV is still a major threat to cotton crop along with meal-bug, jassid and white-fly as currently no resistant cotton variety is available against these diseases.

“There is also no resistance management plan and farmers are encouraged to maintain a refuge area with conventional cotton varieties alongside Bt cotton crop so that resistance in pests may not rekindle over a period of time,” the report said.

The use of Bt cotton has an immediate bearing on farmers as it reduces expense on pesticides and crops gain resistance against the incidence of boll worm, but seeds are costlier and require more water and urea. Bt cotton has been developed through the transfer of a gene, Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), from a soil bacterium.

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