Bt in India
In India, the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) reportedly has rejected the proposal for commercializing transgenic (Bt) cotton cultivation in the North Zone. The proposal before GEAC was to commercialize the cultivation of a fourth Bt cotton hybrid in the North Zone, especially Punjab and Haryana. The GEAC reportedly believes that this hybrid was particularly vulnerable to the leaf-curl virus, which has been a serious problem in the North Zone.
However, Mahyco-Monsanto (India) Ltd., the company that developed the first genetically modified Bt cotton to be grown in India, claims that their varieties have increased growers’ incomes by about 7,000 rupees per acre. These varieties also cut down pesticide use by 65-70%, while boosting yield 30%, the company said. The data collected from a large number of farmers in six southern states showed that the three Bt cotton hybrids released last year had lived up to the growers’ expectations. “The performance of the three hybrids has shown that the Bt gene is effective against all three prevalent species of bollworms. It allows the avoidance of at least three sprays for bollworm management,” the company states.
Copyright Meister Publishing Company Jul 2003
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