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'Refuge in the bag' possible for India's Bt cotton
Sep '11
Developing a regulatory framework for Bt cotton needs careful analysis with respect to finalizing uniform standard of safety and to create an environment that supports domestic players, especially those in the public sector and the small and medium enterprises, said Monsanto's Director (Emerging Markets) for Regulatory Policy and Scientific Affairs, Dr. Rashmi Nair.

Dr. Nair said a functional regulatory system for biotechnology must be scientific, with a clear set of processes and requirements that are workable, adaptable, transparent and predictable.

She said farmers in more than two dozen countries across the world have benefited from using biotechnology, which has brought a revolution in their agriculture.

In India's context, she remarked that the refuge area specified for non-transgenic crop was important, but cotton cultivators do not adhere to the requirement apprehending loss of crop area and profits.

The new refuge area is now decreased to 5 percent of the total sown area from the earlier 20 percent, she said and added that Monsanto Company has suggested a new system of 'refuge in the bag' to address the issue.

Under the new system, in a bag containing transgenic seeds of Bt cotton, up to five percent of non-transgenic seeds can be mixed in them, thus eliminating the need for separately earmarking a five percent area for refuge.

The 'refuge in the bag' suggestion for Bt cotton has found approval from experts at the Central Institute of Cotton Research (CICR) at Nagpur.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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