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Consensus on need to brand Shankar–6 raw cotton
Dec '10
Dr Padmin Buch, MD, GITCO
Dr Padmin Buch, MD, GITCO
At a recent meeting between delegates of the eight East-African countries and various stake holders across the cotton textile value chain in Gujarat held in Ahmedabad, a few representatives from the Gujarat cotton sector spoke about the need to globally brand, a home-grown and also the most exported raw cotton variety from India; Shankar–6.

In its quest to unravel as to how Shankar -6 can be globally branded, fibre2fashion spoke to an expert from the cotton seed industry, a patenting specialist and finally an authority from the raw cotton industry, who hails from an organization which pioneered raw cotton exports from India.

On the possibility of globally branding Shankar–6 (S-6) variety of raw cotton, Dr DB Desai, Managing Director of Navbharat Seeds Pvt Ltd and also President - Gujarat State Seeds Producers Association, welcomed the initiative wholeheartedly and said that a step in this direction can only help the cotton farmers of Gujarat. However, he was of the opinion that before taking this step it was desirable that the properties governing Shankar–6 qualities be well established and registered.

“Explaining further he said, “In 1980, Dr NP Mehta, cotton scientist at the Gujarat Agriculture University, Surat Cotton Research Centre and who after retirement, is now working on the cotton seed R&D program of Navbharat Seeds had developed and released the H-6 variety of cotton seeds, which is a non-Bt variety and also has been registered with the government of India, with regards to its properties and qualities.

“The S-6 cotton is not a single variety having well defined characters in terms of lint quality but it is a group of several varieties of cotton which appears similar or close to characters defined for S-6. In my opinion for branding S-6 we have to define the quality characters of lint and also arrange for providing Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) protection for its marketing by Gujarat traders.

“In reality at present, there is no H-6 cotton lint available in India. However H-6 was very popular and well accepted by textile industry for long period of time and after the year 2000 several private companies developed many cotton varieties with Bt. gene collectively grown and marketed is now known as S-6 in textile trade.

“To achieve the objective of branding S-6 for cotton lint marketing we need to define S-6 lint characters and also provide IPR protection. Help from Gujarat Agriculture University and Government of Gujarat and related agencies like fibre2fashion can be taken to achieve this objective”, he concluded by saying.

Next we spoke to Dr Padmin Buch, Managing Director – Gujarat Industrial & Technical Consultancy Organisation Ltd (GITCO) to know understand the technicalities and reasons for patenting Shankar–6 in order to brand it in global markets. GITCO provides services which include, patenting, infrastructure studies, environment consultancy and private sector project appraisals and has so far filed for 45 patents.

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