GENET archive


APPROVAL / SEEDS: No timeframe yet for Bt cotton variety in Pakistan

                                  PART I
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TITLE:  No timeframe yet for Bt cotton variety
SOURCE: The News International, Pakistan
AUTHOR: Aftab Maken
DATE:   19.03.2007

No timeframe yet for Bt cotton variety

ISLAMABAD: Technical officials of the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and
Livestock and its attached departments have failed to give a timeframe
for making available Bacillus Thuringiensis (Bt) cotton variety for its
plantation in the coming Kharif season.

The stunning disclosure was made before the Standing Committee on Food,
Agriculture and Livestock in a meeting with Makhdoom Ahmed Alam Anwar in
the chair on Saturday. "No variety of Bt cotton will be allowed to dodge
the criterion laid down for regular release of Genetically Modified (GM)
plant varieties," said an official of Punjab Seed Council.

Expressing dissatisfaction over slow process of approval of Bt variety,
Chairman Standing Committee Makhdoom Ahmed Alam Anwar said all the
departments did nothing. "We should introduce this technology for the
benefit of farming community and should also disclose the hazards of
it," he added.

Influential lobbies of pesticide and seed corporations backed by some
institutions and legislators were behind the delay in the approval of Bt
cotton, said agriculture development commissioner in the meeting. The
first Bt variety of National Institute for Biotechnology and Genetic
Engineering (NIBGE) is facing stiff resistance from various quarters, he

A representative of NIBGE, during the meeting, said they would again
send the cotton variety next week to the Environment Protection Agency
for evaluation. The variety would then be sent to the provincial Seed
Council for approval.

"If Bt varieties of NIBGE or CEMB are not approved by the agencies and
provincial governments, it will promote sale of illegal varieties, which
are already being sold without any approval," warned an official of the
Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock. However, the committee
urged the officials and departments concerned to formulate other
procedures and standards which would be needed once the variety was approved.

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                                 PART II
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TITLE:  Consultations on GM cotton to start on 6th
SOURCE: Daily Times, Pakistan
DATE:   04.03.2007

Consultations on GM cotton to start on 6th

KARACHI: The regional consultations on genetically modified (GM) cotton
for risk assessment and opportunities for small-scale cotton growers
will be held at the National Institute for Biotechnology and Genetic
Engineering (NIBGE) from March 6 to 8.

According to a press release on Saturday, Dr Yusaf Zafar, deputy chief
scientist and organizer of the event said that genetically engineered
cotton was spreading at a brisk pace despite reluctance of some
countries to adopt this technology.

Mr Zafar said that at present genetically modified cotton covers 35
percent of the global cotton area. "Common Funds for Commodities (CFC)
and International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC) is sponsoring the
regional consultant on genetically modified cotton for risk assessment
and opportunities for small scale cotton growers.

According to another report, Pakistan Cotton Standard Institute (PCSI)
has certified 71,800 bales of clean lint cotton in the country till March 3.

According to a press release, 998,467 bales out of more than 2.136
million maund of seed cotton was converted into 71,800 bales of grade or
higher and certified as clean cotton. A total of 62,300 have been sold
to the exporters and textile mills from this certified bales.

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                                 PART III
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TITLE:  Subsidy on urea to continue, no restriction on BT cotton sowing: Bosan
SOURCE: Associated Press of Pakistan, Pakistan
DATE:   03.03.2007

Subsidy on urea to continue, no restriction on BT cotton sowing: Bosan

KARACHI, MARCH 3 (APP) - Federal Minister for Food, Agriculture and
Livestock Sikandar Hayat Bosan said Saturday that government will
continue to provide urea at subsidized prices to growers for enhancing
agriculture production. [...]

Bosan pointed out the Cabinet had passed "plant breeders rights" bill,
paving way for the entry of private sector's investment in the seed breeding.

This bill, he said will be submitted in the next session of the National
Assembly for passing into an act or preferably the President of Pakistan
will be requested to pass an Ordinance for the speedy implementation.
This bill was pending since long, he noted.

He said this will help in the introduction and breeding of seed of
Bacillus Thuringieusis (BT) cotton in Pakistan. The leading BT cotton
seed developers and suppliers M/s Monsanto of USA and ICI Inc are in
touch with me and they have shown keen interest in marketing this seed
in Pakistan, he added.

The minister said that the government was cautious in the introduction
of BT cotton only for one reason that a good quality genetically
modified seed having strong resistance against virus and diseases should
be introduced in the country so that better acreage is achieved.

He said Multan Cotton Research Institute is actively working on modified
seeds and a virus resistance variety of cotton will be introduced in
next two years.

He also appealed the private sector to come with heavy investment in the
agriculture sector.

Responding to a demand of KCA to allow hedge trading in cotton, he said
that he and his ministry were not opposing hedge trading. Some of the
stake holders in cotton business have reservations on this.

Earlier, chairman KCA Akbarali Hashwani in his welcome address urged the
minister to encourage the use of BT cotton to get better acreage. He
said India has increased its cotton production to 27 million bales
during 2006-2007 by switching over to 37 percent of its total acreage to
BT cotton.

He also appealed the minister to allow hedge trading in the cotton
business as the MINFAL committee has recommended its implementation.

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                                 PART IV
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TITLE:  Pakistan approves GM rules to protect farmers
SOURCE: SciDev.Net, UK
AUTHOR: Wagdy Sawahel
DATE:   27.02.2007

Pakistan approves GM rules to protect farmers

Pakistan has moved to protect farmers' rights to save, re-use and
exchange genetically modified (GM) seeds, which will protect them from
depending on multinational companies for seed each year.

The cabinet has approved draft legislation to enable Pakistan to fulfill
the World Trade Organization's Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of
Intellectual Property Rights.

The rules aim to preserve incentives for seed companies to continue to
improve seeds and develop new plant varieties by stopping farmers from
selling GM seeds on a commercial scale. But they will also protect
farmers' rights to re-use GM seeds from one generation to the next.

The set of rules is similar to those adopted in India, where farmers are
allowed to sell GM seed on a small scale as long as it is unbranded --
known as 'brown bagging' in the United States.

Public sector research institutes will have ownership rights for their
varieties and the scientists involved in their development will be given
a 20 per cent share of any royalties from the sale of seed.

Speaking to SciDev.Net, Anwar Nasim, president of the Federation of
Asian Biotech Associations and chair of Pakistan's National Commission
on Biotechnology, welcomed the news saying "the bill is of great
importance for farmers in Pakistan and we are happy that it has now been
approved by the cabinet".

"This can serve as a model for other developing countries," said Nasim.

CropLife International -- the global federation that represents the plant
science industry -- also welcomed the regulations, saying they underlined
the patent protection that GM crop technology is already subject to.

"We hope that the newly enacted piece of legislation will foster the
improvement of varieties, while safeguarding the proprietary rights of
titleholders," said Javier Fernandez, Manager of Intellectual Property
and Trade Affairs at CropLife International. The cabinet approved the
draft legislation for plant breeder's rights this month (14 February).
It will be submitted to the parliament after vetting by the Law, Justice
and Human Rights division. 

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