Bt Cotton Delivers Benefits to Small-holder Farmers, says Myanmar Agriculture Minister
Addressing the gathering of senior policy makers and agriculture officials, the Union Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation Mr. U Myint Hlaing acknowledged the major contribution of Bt cotton in doubling cotton production and increasing income of small holder farmers in Myanmar…
Dr. Clive James, Founder and Emeritus Chairman of ISAAA, delivered the inaugural address and shared advancement of biotech/GM crops highlighting the unprecedented 170-fold increase in GM crops hectarages from 1.7 million ha in 1996 to175 million hectares in 27 countries in 2013. The long staple Bt cotton variety Ngwe Chi-6 developed by the Myanmar Industrial Crops Development Enterprise and approved by the National Seed Committee of the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation is now planted on 305,000 hectares by 435,000 small farmers equivalent to an adoption rate of 85%. In the eight year period, Bt cotton increased long staple cotton yield to 2,100 kg per hectare as compared to the yield of 450 kg per hectare for short staple cotton, a four times yield difference. "It is estimated that Bt cotton has enhanced the farm income of Myanmar by US$222 million for the period 2006 to 2012 and the benefits for 2012 alone at US$48.7 million", said James.
Dr. Pa Pa Aung of the Biotechnology Research Center briefed the participants with the status of biotechnology R&D in Myanmar while Dr. Randy Hautea and Bhagirath Choudhary of ISAAA shared the analysis of the adoption and impact of biotech maize in the Philippines and Bt cotton in India, respectively. Dr. Tin Htut Oo, the chairman of the National Social and Economic Advisory Council of Myanmar delivered the concluding remarks.
The agriculture seminar "Global review of commercialization of biotech/GM crops 2013" was organized by the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation (MOAI) in collaboration with the National Social and Economic Advisory Council (NSEAC) and ISAAA in the new Nay Pyi Taw, the new capital city of Myanmar on 24 February 2014. The seminar was attended by senior policy makers, government officials, agricultural scientists and university officials.