Thoughts on economics and liberty

C.S. Prakash’s Twitter debate with Kavitha Kuruganti

C.S. Prakash has put out some informative tweets on GM technologies recently. I’m not good at reading Twitter so I’m making a post that contains the contents of Prakash’s tweets.


Those who question the success of Bt cotton in India or eggplant 🍆 in Bangladesh must look at their adoption rate by farmers, who are smarter than activists. Also, see scientific papers published by respected scientists like this, not a fringe kook site. [Source]

At this stage Kavitha provided the following chart:

Prakash’s comments on this:

So according to this graph, the Bt cotton was so awesome the Indian farmers embraced it enthusiastically that 96% of them grow it now. The pesticide use is not shown before Bt cotton introduction, has been flat. More than a dozen papers and sales records show dramatic reduction [Source]


You must compare the pesticide use by farmers before Bt and after Bt. A small variation between years in pesticide use doesn’t tell you anything as increasingly rich farmers because of Bt cotton may use a little more pesticide to control other pests because now they can afford it [Source]

Farmer Ravichandran chipped in:

From my farming experience, I can clarify on Kavitha ji’s point. BtCotton is meant to address bollworms alone & doesn’t control sucking pest. We the farmers know that we have to adopt bio/chemical control measure for sucking pest.Depending on ETL we use chemicals for sucking pest [Source]

CS Prakash continued:

Every credible scientific paper I have read tells me that insecticide usage has been reduced dramatically because of Bt cotton in India. Every expert that I know confirms that. There has been a small pesticide increase in the control of sucking pests  –


Earlier, more insecticides sprayed on cotton than any other crop ~ 46% of the total market for all crops in India. market share for cotton insecticides as a % of total insecticides declined from 46% in 2001, to 26% in 2006 and to 20% in 2011.  – see: [Source]


Bt was designed to control only the borers. There has been a resurgence of other pests like thrips, aphids, jassids and white fly that required these additional pesticides to control them [Source]


A very steep decline in insecticide usages on bollworm control from 71% in 2001 to 3% in 2011. Thus, cotton farmers in India hardly need to spray insecticides to control bollworm in Bt cotton field, in contrast to conventional cotton farm which required dozens of sprayings! [Source]


I can post dozens of tables like this including that from Kranthi showing OVERALL pesticide usage decreased in cotton because of Bt cotton. You can’t just cherry pick one that distorts that. You can’t be smarter than 7 million farmers who have found this tech working for them. [Source]


Considering input use in Bt cotton, labor, and insecticide use are relatively lower, and fertilizer and water use are relatively higher than with non-Bt cotton. [Source]





Because of drought last year, this trend changed a bit. Nevertheless, one can see how the GM cotton transformed the cotton and textiles sector. 14 million tons of high protein cotton seeds helped propel India as the largest milk producer in the world, a major nutritional boost [Source]

The surge in the use of pesticides, fertilizers and irrigation after 2002 was because of the increased affordability of those by relatively better income for our cotton farmers. Why is that so hard to acknowledge? [Source]










In relation to an article that asked for more studies on Bt brinjal, CS Prakash wrote

Another study? There are studies ad nauseam for the past 25 years by national science academies, most scientific societies, 2400 scientific papers, 125 Nobel laureates – all vouching for the safety of GM with reasonable science-based regulatory oversight. [Source]


Kranthi says much of the yield increase since 2002 may have come from irrigation and fertilizers. is there a paper parsing that to see how much each of those would have contributed? Clearly, fertilizer and irrigation existed before Bt. [Source]


Those who question the success of Bt cotton in India or eggplant 🍆 in Bangladesh must

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Sanjeev Sabhlok

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