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Monsanto applies for permission to export Bt cotton seeds to Pakistan

07
Sep '09
Monsanto, a leading global provider of technology-based solutions and agricultural seeds, clarified that, it has applied for permission to the Government of India to export Bt cotton seeds to Pakistan and that the matter was under consideration. The Pakistan Press had recently quoted a senior official as saying that India had banned the export of Bt cotton seeds to India. To get an understanding on the situation, Fibre2fashion spoke exclusively to Mr Jagresh Rana, Director, Mahyco Monsanto Biotech (MMB).

We began by asking him to comment on the reports that India was blocking exports of Bt cotton seeds to Pakistan, to which he said, “As per the new process adopted by the Government of India, the export of any transgenic material for research purposes requires approval of the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) and the National Biodiversity Authority (NBA). Currently, our application to export Bollgard II Bt cotton hybrid seeds to Pakistan for research and evaluation is pending with NBA for review and approval”.

Next we asked him that if Bt cotton seeds are indeed exported from India to Pakistan, how much will it help Monsanto (India), to which he replied by saying, “Pakistan is the fourth largest cotton growing country in the world and its total cotton acreage is equal to around 40% of total cotton cultivated in India, thus, the export of Bt cotton hybrid seeds is a significant export opportunity for Indian cotton seed companies”.

Satisfied with his replies, we than asked him about the percentage of Bt cotton seeds cultivated in the new cotton season in India versus overall cotton seed cultivation, to, which he explained by saying, “Amidst the challenges in agriculture, India's Bt cotton success story stands out as one of hope and pride as India's cotton farmers have made India the world's second largest producer and second largest exporter of cotton by doubling the country's cotton production in six years using the insect-protected Bt cotton hybrid seeds, since its introduction in 2002”.

He added by saying, “In 2008, four million farmers cultivated over 300 Bt cotton hybrid seed brands with four competing technologies on 79% of India's total cotton acres.
Bollgard II and Bollgard Bt cotton technologies were adopted on 17.2 million acres, i.e. Bollgard II on 4.5 million acres, Bollgard on 12.7 million acres respectively”.

“The early indicators in 2009 indicate that, farmers are upgrading to the superior Bollgard II available in approximately 100 Bt cotton hybrid seed brands for better pest protection and higher yields; and we expect farmers to adopt Bollgard II and Bollgard bt cotton technologies on 19 million acres, i.e. Bollgard II on 9 million acres, and Bollgard on 10 million acres. Thus, Indian cotton farmers are now early adopters of the superior Bollgard II double-gene technology, after the US and a few other countries”.


Fibre2fashion News Desk - India


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