Bt Cotton in Andhra Pradesh: A Three Year Fraud| 30mins
Director: Community Media Trust | Producer: Community Media Trust
Focus Years: 2005 | Country: India
Bt cotton is the first genetically modified organism (GMO) to have entered India. It was introduced in 2002 in Warangal District, in the South Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. It has brought in its wake a trail of misery, destruction and death, particularly among small and marginal farming families. While Bt cotton made its entry into Warangal, it was backed up with a massive advertising blitz which promised three things to farmers who grew it: 1) your pesticide use will be less; 2) your cultivation costs will reduce; 3) your yields and profits will increase. However, a citizen-led study carried out over a period of three years chronicles the fraudulent promises of the industry and the impacts of Bt cotton in Warangal. While farmers did incur marginally less expenditure on their pesticide use, their cost of cultivation went up. Yields and profits came down considerably. This three-year study of Bt cotton was initiated by the AP Coalition in Defence of Diversity and the Deccan Development Society in collaboration with the Permaculture Association of India. The study, Bt Cotton in Andhra Pradesh: A Three Year Assessment, was published in 2005. The film "Bt Cotton in Andhra Pradesh: A Three Year Fraud" was part of the study and captured the more qualitative dimensions of the crisis experienced by farmers. The film brings alive the voices and images of farmers who went through a deadly nightmare as they tried to grow Bt cotton. The film vividly brings out the experiences of a number of farmers as they narrate their stories of terrible loss, deep pain, and cold anger, leading to explosive violence and even death. To make this film, the women film-makers of the Community Media Trust have traveled to Warangal month after month, braving the scorching sun, carrying their equipment, walking miles into farmersâ€™ fields, talking to farmers, especially women, building friendships and generating insightful interviews. They have filmed the false promises of Bt cotton at every stage and analysed the reasons with farmers. The last year of their filming was led by Eedulapally Manjula, and was supported by Matoor Shakuntala, Nagwar Kavita, Ippapalle Mollamma, Humnapur Laxmamma, Borancha Sangamma and Pastapur Chinna Narsamma. Being small and marginal farmers themselves, the media women of CMT have sensitively captured the images and voices of the Bt cotton farmers in crisis. The brilliance and invaluable nature of their effort cannot be adequately described.