“I took over the farm after the death of my father, but after a few years of using the practices that he had established, I was not getting the desired results,” says Nanote, who grows wheat, chickpea, papaya and soybean in Maharashtra, India.
“By switching to [genetically modified] Bt cotton I am able to provide employment to many people and produce larger quantities of food.”
He also credits biotechnology with helping him to “maintain the health and the texture of the soil on my farm.”
Nanote recalls that “there was a lot of unease and misunderstanding about GM crops” when he obtained his first Bt cotton seeds nearly two decades ago. But he was willing to try a different approach after bollworm infestations repeatedly took their toll on his most important crop.
“In 2002 I heard of a new technology that would help to counter bollworms, and I planted two acres of Bt cotton seeds. In that first year, not a single bollworm was found in the fields sown with Bt cotton, so the following year I planted up 10 acres. Yields went up, and spray costs were drastically reduced,” he says, noting that he had been spraying insecticides seven or eight times per season, with no guaranteed return.
“This land is my family’s hope and future, and with increased yields and increased income I have repaired my house and sent my children to better schools,” Nanote says. “I follow nature in farming. This biotechnology guarantees income and makes eco-friendly farming easier.”