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Modified cotton helps Indian women

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only
by Staff Writers
Warwick, England (UPI) Jul 28, 2010
Use of a particular genetically modified crop in India has produced massive gains in women's employment and income in that country, a U.K. research study says.

Planting of insect-resistant Bacillus thuringiensis toxin cotton generated not only higher income for rural workers but also more employment, especially for hired female labor, a release from the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom said Wednesday.

Since the genetically modified Bt cotton was introduced in India in 2002, higher yields compared with conventional cotton have led to additional labor employed to pick the increased production, Warwick's Arjunan Subramanian said.

Harvesting of cotton is primarily a female activity in India, and women hired to pick Bt cotton have enjoyed a gain of 55 percent in average income, he said.

Bt cotton also improved female working conditions since less family male labor was needed for scouting and spraying for pests, making that labor available for other household economic activities traditionally done by female family members.

"Overall, Bt cotton enhances the quality of life of women through increasing income and reducing 'femanual' work," Subramanian said.

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