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Pest blights GM cotton crop, fuelling debate over risks

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MUMBAI/NEW DELHI: Two Indian states are suffering the first major pest infestation since the country adopted genetically modified cotton in 2002, raising concerns over the vulnerability of the lab-grown seeds that yield nearly all of the cotton in the world’s top producer.

Damage from the whitefly attack on the Bt cotton variety in Punjab and Haryana is likely to be extensive and has even been blamed for farmer suicides, according to local officials and experts.

India’s overall crop losses are expected to be light, because the states are not major producing centres, but the pest attack is inflaming debate over the usage of GM crops.

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Nagaraju Tadakaluri
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