Why in news ?
The illegal cultivation of Herbicide Tolerant (HT) Bt cotton has seen a huge jump as the sale of illegal seed packets has more than doubled from 30 lakh in 2020 to 75 lakh in 2021.
- Bt cotton is the only transgenic crop that has been approved by the Centre for commercial cultivation in India.
- It has been genetically modified (GM) to produce an insecticide to combat the cotton bollworm, a common pest.
Herbicide Tolerant Bt (HTBt) Cotton:
- The HTBt cotton variant adds another layer of modification, making the plant resistant to the herbicide glyphosate, but has not been approved by regulators.
- Fears include glyphosate having a carcinogenic effect, as well as the unchecked spread of herbicide resistance to nearby plants through pollination, creating a variety of superweeds.