Cotton is grown in more than 100 countries of the world. In Pakistan cotton is the big source for economic growth. From cotton, we obtained a surplus amount of foreign exchange in the form of cotton lint, yarn, garments and cloths which accounts for more than 6 per cent in GDP share. Cotton textile exports embrace more over $7.3 billion to the national economy which is 2/3rd of the country export earnings. Seed of cotton is an important source of food for livestock and humans. Millions of small farmers, daily wageworkers and much small and medium businesss earning is directly and indirectly link with this single crop. Therefore the progress and failure of cotton crop has not only influence the exports but also have a bad impact on socioeconomic of different sectors of stakeholders. Pakistans cotton growing performance is marked by a mixed trend; some years if dismal growth and some years of cruising growth. A record cotton crop of 12769 thousand tons bales was achieved in 2013-14 on the other hand production remained less than 2.5 per cent from 2013-2014 due to outbreak of severe cotton leaf curl virus (CLCV). From 2013-2014 high temperature more humid climate condition has contributed the emergence of different bollworms like American, spotted and pink which damage worst to the cotton crop in Sindh and Punjab provinces.

According to a survey that an increment of one million bales in cotton production gives half a percent increase in GDP.

In the late 1980s, Monsanto began development of Bollgard (Bt) insect-protected cotton by transformation containing the cry1Ac gene from Bacillus thuringiensis var. kurstaki. The goal was to provide constitutive in plant control of key lepidopteran pests in an environmentally friendly manner at a reduced cost. After receiving appropriate regulatory approvals, Bt cotton was launched commercially in the United States in 1996, and subsequently in Argentina, Australia, China, Mexico, and South Africa. In 2000, Bt cotton was commercially grown on approximately 4 million acres of cotton globally, with 97 per cent grown in the United States. The registration of Bollgard cotton has brought cotton growers an in-plant protection method for use as part of an integrated pest management system. Modern biotechnology is dramatically redefining pest management in global cotton production. After a decade of research, transgenic, insect-resistant cotton varieties were developed that enable growers to use an in-plant protection method as part of their integrated pest management programmes.

In an effort to understand the benefits associated with Bt cotton, one should focus on the economic, environmental, and social effects of Bt technology as reported in peer-reviewed scientific literature, international conference proceedings, government and institutional reports, market research and survey, and company literature.

The direct benefits documented from using Bt cotton to control insect pests include reduced use of broad-spectrum insecticide, lower farming risks and production costs, better yields and profitability, expanded opportunities to grow cotton, and a brighter economic outlook for the cotton industry. The indirect benefits that arise from the use of the crop primarily stem from the reduction in broad spectrum insecticide use when Bt cotton is used for pest control. Reducing the use of broad-spectrum insecticides in cotton produces benefits that include increased effectiveness of beneficial arthropods as pest control agents, improved control of non-target pests, reduced risk for farmland wildlife species, reduced runoff of broad-spectrum insecticides, reduced fuel usage, lower levels of air pollution and related waste production, and improved safety of farm workers and neighbors.

In 2004-05 Bt cotton was introduced in Pakistan. Five years of commercial Bt cotton use demonstrated that Bt cotton technology has achieved the goal of providing an effective tool for lepidopteran control that is safer to humans and more environmentally benign than broad-spectrum insecticides. Nevertheless, many of the benefits of Bt cotton to the environment and to society require further documentation, especially the less tangible benefits, such as increased population densities of wildlife and greater effectiveness of beneficial insects for pest control. Such studies will help to expand our understanding of the range of benefits offered by insect-protected crops that are developed through biotechnology. In addition, an evaluation of any risks associated with biotechnology-derived pest control is necessary to achieve a full perspective on the impact of Bt cotton on agro-ecosystems, growers, the cotton industry, and society.

Overall, the Bt cotton varieties tested within 5 years have produced profitable yields and fiber quality comparable to that of conventional varieties. Yield potential on most farms ranges from good to well above average, with Bt cotton meeting or exceeding growers expectations.

The authors are from the Department of Agronomy University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan. They can be reached at <>

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