Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Genitically Modified seeds

INDIA: AP govt holds introduction of Bollgard II cottonseed
Source: Agencies, May 3 2007

HYDERABAD: The State Government at a high-level meeting held here in the
city has directed the Agriculture Department to hold the introduction of
Bollgard-II variety of cottonseed in Andhra Pradesh, industry sources said
here on May 02.

Mr N. Raghuveera Reddy, Minister for Agriculture who attend the meet
commented that the introduction of Bollgard cottonseed at a higher rate at
this juncture would only create confusion among farmers.

However, the decision to hold the introduction has hit a roadblock to the
hopes of cottonseed companies to introduce Bollgard-II in Andhra Pradesh as
the Agriculture Department officials has been directed not to be in a hurry
to allow it.

Despite a high price of Rs 1850 for a packet of 450 gm, the Bt cotton
acreage has gone up significantly in the last two years in the State;
whereas on the other hand, seed manufacturers in the last year had agreed to
reduce the price to Rs 750, following a legal conflict between the Andhra
Pradesh Government and Mahyco-Monsanto Biotech Ltd (MMBL).

Further, MMBL announced introduction of Bollgard II technology even the
companies agreed to sell Bollgard I seeds at Rs 750.

The price of Bollgard II cottonseed has been fixed at Rs 975, the price
variation could trigger confusion as most of the farmers, who are not
literate, don't distinguish between Bollgard I and Bolgard II.

The Bollgard I variety protects the cotton plant only from bollworm, while
the Bollgard II offers a two-way protection against bollworm and heliothis.