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Licensing of Bt Cottonseed will trip GM seeds industry
07
Jun '16
The government's price controls and compulsory licensing guidelines in case of Bt Cottonseed, are likely to have an adverse impact on the long-term growth of the Genetically Modified (GM) seeds industry, credit rating agency ICRA has said in a report.

According to the report, while the Cottonseed Price (Control) Order, 2015, aims to notify the maximum selling price for Bt Cottonseed along with the trait-value, the Licensing and Formats for GM Technology Agreement Guidelines, 2016, if implemented, require the technology providers to compulsorily give license to all applicants.

ICRA pointed out that these steps are likely to have an adverse impact on the technology providers. At a time when the roll-out of more GM crops has been slow, the government's decision would hamper the adoption of GM crops in the country, it added.

"While the current situation of financial stress on cotton farmers may justify some intervention on part of the government, a more conducive regulatory environment is critical for the long-term growth of the GM seeds," ICRA AVP, Corporate Sector ratings, Harsh Jagnani said.

In 2002, India embraced its first GM crop with the commercialisation of Bt Cottonseed developed by Mahyco Monsanto Biotech (India). Bt Cotton now covers 95 per cent of total area under cotton acreage.

However, no other GM crop has been approved since then, notwithstanding the roll-out of field trials to assess the bio-safety of GM crops in 2009.

ICRA said, at such time, controlling the GM seeds licensing of technology providers may further restrict research and development of GM crops in the country.

India with its fairly low seed replacement ratio and a higher proportion of extant varieties in its commercial seed portfolio can ill-afford to lower the research spends, it cautioned. (SH)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India

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