Bangladesh Introduces GM Cotton Offering Higher Yields
With a goal to enhance cotton yields and reduce import dependence, Bangladesh has introduced two varieties of genetically modified (GM) cotton in the country.
The GM cotton has genetic traits called Bacillus Thuringiensis (Bt) that effectively fights bollworm, a caterpillar which is mainly responsible for infecting and damaging standing cotton crops.
“Bangladesh produces around 200,000 bales of cotton,” Agriculture Minister Muhammad Abdur Razzaque said while, addressing a seminar which was held to introduce the GM cotton in Dhaka.
“But our usage is almost 10 million bales, of which 1.5 million are used for producing garment for domestic consumption, while 8.5 million bales are used in producing yarns and fabrics for export of garments,” he added.
“GM cotton seeds have the ability to produce cotton which can meet around 20 percent of our demand, or almost 1.5 million bales,” Razzaque informed.
The average yield of BT cotton is around 4,500 kgs per hectare or 15-20 percent higher than the local cotton seed variety, while production cost will be down by almost 13-15 percent.
Bangladesh regulators had first given their consent to introduce the BT cotton variety in June 2022.