A few facts from their campaign research:
- In developing countries, cotton is thought to account for half of total pesticide use.
- Pesticides used in cotton production pollute freshwater lakes and rivers, contaminate drinking water sources and threaten farming communities’ health as well as their precious ecosystems
- Deaths from severe pesticide poisoning are widespread and up to 77million cotton workers suffer poisoning from pesticides each year
- Bt cotton is the only GM crop widely commercialised in developing countries and Monsanto now controls 95% of the cotton seed market in India. Poor farmers can ill-afford the high priced seeds and extra fertilisers the crop demands. Pests are developing resistance to Bt insecticide in the plants. The news is full of stories of cotton farmers in India who have taken their own lives due to spiralling debt caused by spending more on Bt cotton seeds which have then failed.
- Organic cotton production, on the other hand, requires crop diversity and enables farmers to grow other crops for food and income. It also keeps soils healthy and drinking water safe and clean (with the water pollution imact of organic 98% less than non-organic cotton production).