What is the impact of “innovative” biotechnology crops such as Bt. cotton on traditional knowledge systems? Do they help or undermine farmer’s traditional knowledge systems developed over many years of experimentation and observation? In an important article, Dr. Glenn Davis Stone, Professor of Anthropology and Environmental studies, Washington University, argued that spread of genetically modified Bt. cotton in Warangal district of Andhra Pradesh has contributed to deskilling of agriculture workers. Dr. Stone has been conducting field work in Warangal from 2000, and has published several articles on the Bt. cotton adaptation and its impacts in India.
As frequently is the case, the meanings of words we use every day can be so slippery. When we really think about the words, they tend to reflect social situations and social structures, or better, power structures of a certain locale. This is the reason why I want to interrogate this often used term – sensitive.