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Commercial production of Bt cotton planned

02
Feb '07
Domestic cotton sector, relying mainly on imports, is set to be revived as commercialization of the genetically modified Bt cotton variety has been planned for next three years.

Philippines will conduct field testing on Bt cotton. It has followed import procedures for seeds of the variety, to come from China, for last two years. Country expects reduction in cotton lint imports worth P2.4 billion per annum as a result, to upturn local production.

Candico B Damo, Chief Agriculturist, Cotton Development Administration (CODA), informed the media that import permit for Bt cotton seeds has received the approval of Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI). Country imports cotton from US, Australia and Pakistan.

Bt cotton gives nearly 20 percent more yield compared to other varieties and it also decreases production costs for farmers. About 24,611 hectares land area in Philippines is to be sowed with Bt cotton in 2008.

Between 1996 and 2005, local cotton lint produce fell to an average of 1,174 metric tons from 14,400 metric tons during 1992 because of damages caused by the highly infesting bollworm. Currently, cotton production fulfills only five percent of overall demand.


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