The newly-formed Congress government in the southern Indian state of Karnataka is in favour of allowing farmers to make their choices on the use of genetically modified (GM) crops like Bt cotton, Agriculture Minister Krishna Byre Gowda has said
 
Bt cotton was introduced some 15 years ago in Karnataka and it has since then helped the state’s farmers to increase their output. As of today, about 90 percent of the cotton acreage in the state is under Bt cotton.
 
Meanwhile, Dharwad and Raichur based agricultural universities are working to improve the quality of Bt cotton seeds, Economic Times reported quoting PTI.
 
The government is set to provide seeds and fertilizers to farmers and has stocked the requirements in lines with the Agriculture Department’s consumption estimations of around 1.07 million quintals of seeds during the 2013 Kharif season, the Minister said.
 
Also, against estimated requirement of 2.4 million tons of fertilizers, the government has stocked 900,000 tons of the same, and would continue to refill the stock, he added. 
 
The state government has also constituted a special squad to trace the elements instigating artificial shortage of seeds or fertilizers through hoarding, Mr. Gowda said.
 
He advised the farmers to avoid excessive use of urea just due to its low-cost availability, as this may adversely affect the soil’s fertility.
 
He said though there are several farmer-centric schemes, rather than trying to implement them all, the state government would only focus on some selected ones.