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Biotechnology Applications in Agriculture: A Study of Farmers' Perception in Karnataka

Sajeev, M.V.

Abstract

The study reveals farmer support for biotechnology applications in agriculture. New indices developed for the study could reveal farmer willingness to pay for GM seeds, to trial in time, to invest additionally and to substitute available area. Farmers were willing to pay 59 percent more over present options for GM seeds and invest an additional 99 percent towards cultivation of GM crops. Majority farmers were willing to substitute their available area with a GM alternative to the tune of 59 percent while most farmers were willing to take up the GM option after observing the performance in fellow farmers’ fields for one season. Ongoing research with respect to fourteen biotechnology applications in agriculture was tested for their farmer acceptability. Farmer support was found highest for research on crops requiring lesser chemical fertilizers. This was followed by support for crops requiring less water for growth, crops having longer shelf life periods, drought tolerant crops and salinity tolerant crops respectively. The study reveals that contrary to popular belief and media projections, farmers are supportive of biotechnology applications in Indian agriculture provided the projected advantages are realized in field. The findings will serve researchers, industry and Government in developing biotech communication strategies, pricing, production and timing of market entry as well as development of GM crops based on farmer needs in future. It is recommended that current policies with respect to GM crops be fine tuned with a positive and futuristic outlook in the larger interest of Indian agriculture and farmers

Keyword: Biotechnology application

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