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Pak's Punjab drops plan to introduce Bt cotton
24
Jan '12
The provincial government of Punjab in Pakistan has decided not to go ahead with the introduction of Bt cotton technology.

This might mean a setback for Monsanto, the US company with which China signed an agreement in 1996, which was followed by similar deals with India and Australia in 2002.

In April 2010, Pakistan too signed a MoU with Monsanto for Bollgard II technology, which was endorsed by the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet.

Punjab Minister for Agriculture, Ahmad Ali Aulakh, is known to be an opponent of Bt cotton and had been against the deal with Monsanto as the Genetically Modified (GM) cotton will be a costly affair for poor farmers and it would not be able to solve problems faced by cotton cultivators in Punjab.

Experts say the inability of Bt cotton to kill mealy bug, cotton leaf curl virus (CLCV) and sucking and chewing pests is one of the reasons for the Punjab government's decision to not to go ahead with the introduction of Bt cotton in the province.

Another reason cited is the inability of animals to digest the cotton cake made from Bt cotton seeds, due to which they often fall sick.

The Seed Association of Pakistan (SAP) has repeatedly warned the Punjab government that introduction of Bt cotton may lead to closure of national seed companies and also add huge cost on the public exchequer.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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