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Bio-monitoring cell to test Bt cotton in Pakistan
Sep '12
In a bid to frame a standardized system for tracing and testing Bt cotton, and to enable cotton growers in the country to sow best quality seed, which is supposed to cost them heavily, University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF) plans to establish a bio-monitoring cell for certifying efficiency of Bt cotton at Center of Agricultural Biochemistry and Biotechnology (CABB, UAF).
The announcement was made during inauguration of a training workshop for testing transgenic crops, where Vice Chancellor Professor Dr. Iqrar Ahmad Khan was the chief guest.
Calling the output of 13.6 million bales that Pakistan reaped this year a big achievement, Dr. Khan said this became possible through Bt intervention. Also, he expressed hope that the proposed bio-monitoring cell for certification of Bt cotton and capacity enhancement workshops would open up new service areas for cultivators, seed companies and other stakeholders.
He also informed the workshop that UAF is trying to develop policy papers on Bt cotton neutrally and fearlessly, with a reliance on empirical evidence, for the benefit of the Government and the public at large.
Dr. Masooma Naseer Cheema, conducted a research titled "present scenario of Bt cotton cultivation in Pakistan and future prospects", to analyse the characteristics of the seed that farmers use believing it to be Bt seeds. She said of the 52 samples of Bt genotypes that they collected from the farmers' fields of the cotton belt, only 15 percent were found to be approved seeds and met the stipulated lethal level of Bt characteristics.
Most of the farmers lack awareness about the seed quality of the Bt cotton, as they lack knowledge and the ability to analyse the transgenic crops in public as well as private sector, she said.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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