GENET archive


2-Plants: Thailand (4): Controversary about illegal spread of GE cotton

-------------------------- GENET-news ---------------------------

TITLE:  Pressure up for labelling of products
SOURCE: The Bangkok Post, by Ploenpote Atthakor
DATE:   December 1, 1999

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Pressure up for labelling of products

The chief of the Agriculture Department yesterday implied
environmental activists have deliberately caused the transgenic
Bt cotton to spread by giving seeds to farmers. Ananta Dalodom
raised questions over the fact the activists were able to locate
two plantations found to have cultivated Bt cotton. The
plantations, located far away from other cotton fields, were
impossible to find without foreknowledge, he said after a fact
finding meeting to consider the results of tests done on samples
of what was believed to be Bt cotton.

Of 100 samples taken from Loei, Phetchabun, Nakhon Ratchasima and
Lop Buri in October, only nine were found to be genetically
modified cotton and they came from two plantations in Wichian
Buri district of Phetchabun. Committee chairman Charoen
Suknantapong said it could not be determined yet if they were Bt
cotton. Bt cotton was brought into Thailand for field trial by
the US biotech giant Monsanto. Some bioresource protection
advocates alleged Bt cotton seeds were illegally released to open

Mr Ananta yesterday showed videotapes of interviews with two
villagers said to have planted Bt cotton in Wichian Buri. Tong
Chaimat said she bought five kilos of cotton seeds at 100 baht
kg, which was several times the price of the local strain, from
outsiders who visited her village during the past Songkran
festival. "After selling the seeds, they have never returned,"
Mrs Ton said. Daycha Siripatra, who represents Biothai, a network
of organisations advocating the protection of biological
resources, denounced Mr Ananta's comment as an attempt to find a
scapegoat for the Bt cotton spread.


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