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2-Plants: Andhra Pradash Government seizes Bt cotton seeds - Bt cotton rules in Gujarat

                                  PART I
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TITLE:  INDIA: Agriculture department seizes BT cotton seeds in E. Godavari
SOURCE: Bharat Textile, India
DATE:   29 Jun 2005

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INDIA: Agriculture department seizes BT cotton seeds in E. Godavari

VISAKHAPATNAM: A special squad of officials from the Agriculture
department seized BT cotton seeds worth Rs 2.13 lakh from dealers at Tuni
in East Godavari district on June 26.

BT cotton -- transgenic cotton in which bacillus thuringenesis (BT) gene
is implanted to fight bollworm and other pests that the crop is prone to
-- has not yielded the desired results in Andhra Pradesh, according to
studies conducted by experts.

Earlier this year, the genetic engineering approval committee of the
Union Ministry of Environment and Forests issued orders banning
cultivation of BT cotton in Andhra Pradesh, but allowing it in northern India.

The three varieties of transgenic cotton introduced by Monsanto-Mahyco in
Andhra Pradesh -- MECH 162, MECH 12 and MECH 184 -- were found wanting. It
was claimed that they would be more pest-resistant, thereby resulting in
reduction of pesticide use, and give greater yields. But these claims
were not proven on the field.

However, in spite of the ban, it is alleged that BT cotton seed was
freely available in the cotton belt -- Guntur, Krishna and Prakasam districts.

At the recent meeting of the zilla parishad in Guntur, people's
representatives of all parties expressed concern over the sale of the
banned seed.

Mr Raghuveera Reddy, State Agriculture Minister, during a recent video
conference, instructed officials of different districts to invoke the
provisions of the Essential Commodities Act to book the sellers of such
spurious seeds. In particular, he wanted them to concentrate on Guntur,
Warangal and Kurnool from where the spurious seed originated.

                                  PART II
-------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  Rains boost Indian cotton sowing, transgenic rules
SOURCE: Reuters, by Atul Prakash
DATE:   30 Jun 2005

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Rains boost Indian cotton sowing, transgenic rules

BOMBAY (Reuters) - Cotton sowing in India's major producing states of
Gujarat and Maharashtra has been progressing well after monsoon rains,
with farmers showing much interest in transgenic seeds after reaping a
record crop last year.

Scattered rains in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh and central India
had slowed the process, but the plantings will pick up in the coming days
with good showers, traders said.

"Sowing is in full swing in Gujarat where almost half the plantings are
over but it's hardly 10 to 20 percent in some other states due to less
rains," said Saurabh R. Chudgar, a cotton dealer in Gujarat, India's
largest cotton growing state.

Traders said about one-third of plantings in Maharashtra, the country's
second-largest producer, had been completed with coastal areas getting
bountiful rains, but some interior parts have not received enough
rainfall, delaying plantings.

"There is no panic," said Manoj Gala, a cotton trader in the western city
of Ahmedabad. "If sufficient rains occur in deficit areas, there will not
be any problem."

A weather office statement late on Wednesday said heavy rainfall was
expected in the entire eastern state of Orissa, eastern parts of Madhya
Pradesh in central India and the western state of Gujarat.

The southwest monsoon has covered almost all of the country ahead of
schedule and the rains in June are now expected to be only 10 to 15
percent below normal, compared with 49 percent deficiency in the first
three weeks, a weather official said.

Traders said it was too early to comment on the land under cotton this
year, but the country could harvest another record crop because of
widespread sowing of genetically modified (GMO) cotton that boosts yields.


India produced a record 23.2 million bales of cotton (of 170 kg each) in
2004, up 31 percent from 17.7 million a year earlier.

"Bt cotton is getting popular and the response has been very good in
Gujarat, Maharashtra and Punjab," said Shirish R. Shah of trading firm
Bhaidas Cursondas and Company in Bombay.

In 2002, India allowed transgenic cotton that contains a gene from
Bacillus thuringiensis, a bacterium species. When infested by bollworm,
it causes lethal paralysis in the digestive tract.

Traders said about 80 percent of the cotton area in Gujarat was under
transgenic cotton this year, while the share was 60 percent and 40
percent in Maharashtra and Punjab.

Mahyco Monsanto Biotech (India) Ltd., the first company to start
marketing Bt cotton in India, was expecting to sell seeds for 3.5 million
acres of land this year compared with 1.45 million last year, its
managing director M. K. Sharma said.

Traders said domestic cotton prices were likely to marginally rise in the
coming months because of a seasonal drop in supply.

"Local prices have bottomed out and will tend to go up only," said Gala,
adding prices might rise by up to 5 percent in the next two to three months.

Prices had dropped to four-month lows about three weeks ago, but have
risen on the supply crunch as most of the cotton from the previous crop
has been sold, traders said.

Prices of Shankar cotton are now quoted at around 17,100 rupees per candy
of 356 kg, up from 15,400 rupees in early June.

Traders said global prices were expected to hover in a narrow range in
the coming weeks, but may rise in the longer period if there are crop
concerns in major producing countries.

Some analysts say hot weather could hit Chinese cotton farms along with
those in the southwestern United States. The two countries are the
world's top producers and consumers of cotton.


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