Determining Tolerance of non-GM Cotton Cultivars Towards Cotton Bollworm in Central India
Seraina Vonzun1,3, Monika M. Messmer1, Dharmendra Wele2, Yogendra Shrivas2, Thomas Boller3, Hanamaraddi G. Kencharaddi4, Manjula S. Maralappanavar4, Shreekant S. Patil4
1Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL), Switzerland
The cotton bollworm is one of the major pests in cotton causing dramatic yield losses worldwide. In recent years, this led to the widespread adoption of genetically modified (GM) cotton, expressing Bacillus thuringiensis toxin, which is less susceptible to the bollworm, and to a neglect of breeding in non-GM cultivars especially towards bollworm resistance. Cultivation of “organic cotton” depends on effective bollworm control based on inherent tolerance and treatments with botanical pesticides. Even though India is the world's largest producer of organic cotton, stakeholders from this sector face serious problems because they do not find suitable non-GM cultivars in the Indian market. Therefore a GM-free seed supply chain has to be re-established. For the support of organic cotton farmers participatory programs for cotton breeding and cultivar evaluation have been initiated in Madhya Pradesh in Central India to increase the genetic diversity of cultivated Gossypium species.
Keywords: Cotton, Bt toxin, Gossypium spp., organic farming, smallholder farmer
Contact Address: Seraina Vonzun, Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL), Ackerstrasse 113, Frick, Switzerland, e-mail: seraina.vonzunfibl.org