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Maharashtra wants pest-resistant Bt cotton de-notified
Oct '17
Maharashtra wants pest-resistant Bt cotton de-notified
The Maharashtra state government has requested the Indian Government to de-notify the Bt cotton seed strain Bollgard II (BG II) as it has lost its efficacy against the pink bollworm pest. The request follows pesticide-related deaths of farm workers in Vidarbha. This is the second such letter the state has written to the central government on the issue.

The union agriculture ministry had invited state officials for a consultation on this issue.

If BG II is de-notified, it may reduce the price from the present Rs 800 to Rs 400 a packet of such seeds, state agriculture secretary Bijay Kumar said.

About 98 per cent of the cotton crop in Maharashtra, which is among the leading cotton producers in the country, is grown from Bt cotton seeds with BG II technology.

Though the seeds are supposed to be resistant to the American and pink bollworm and reduce pesticide use, their resistance has been dropping for a while, leading to a rise in use of pesticides. A 2016 study by the Central Institute of Cotton Research found the seed to be susceptible to the pink bollworm.

The BG II technology was developed by the global seed giant Monsanto and marketed in India through the joint venture firm Mahyco Monsanto Biotech India Ltd.

Resistance management in pests is the joint responsibility of farmers, seed companies, technology providers, trade, end user industry , regulatory bodies, state agricultural universities and government departments, according to a Monsanto India spokesperson. (DS)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India

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