Govt wants local GM cotton seed by next year to check Monsanto
With US-based seed giant Monsanto facing regulatory heat in India over monopoly concerns, the government has expedited work to bring out a local genetically-modified version of cotton seed by next year.
"The Central Institute for Cotton Research (CICR) has been doing research in GM cotton for quite some time now. In a recent meeting, the issue was discussed and CICR has been asked to expedite research work and come out with GM cotton as soon as by next year," Agriculture Secretary Shobhana K Pattanayak said.
The direction to CICR has come at a time when pests like pink bollworm has developed resistance to Monsanto's second generation Bt cotton variety, Bollgard II, in some parts of India and caused crop damage.
Also, Monsato's Bt cotton is the only GM crop allowed for commercial cultivation in the country. A substantial level of the country's cotton contains Monsanto's hybrid technology, which has been sub-licensed to 49 Indian seed companies. The Competition Commission (CCI) is investigating whether an Indian arm of the US-based technology major resorted to anti-competitive practices in the GM cotton seed market.