The move of crop biotechnology into the south raises issues about effects on cultural agricultural practices. The case of recently introduced genetically modi?ed cotton in India is used to explore how crop biotechnology can affect change in processes underlying local practice. The particular focus is agricultural skilling—acquiring information and adopting management practices derived from that information—based on both environmental learning and cultural transmission. Impediments to skilling include inconsistency, unrecognizability, and overly rapid technological change; these processes may lead to agricultural deskilling, which has similarities to and differences from industrial deskilling. India’s first genetically engineered crop, Bt cotton, has recently been released into an unsustainable situation plagued by deskilling, yet biotechnology has brought new disruptions of information flows and thus of the skilling process. The India case shows how susceptible to political manipulation the cultural agricultural practices become when skilling is disrupted.

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