GENET archive


APPROVAL / SEEDS: Indian Genetic Engineering Approval Committeestops Bt cotton approvals for 2007

                                 PART I
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TITLE:  Agriculture ministry to take up spurious GM seeds issue: Pawar
SOURCE: Zee News, India
DATE:   17.03.2007

Agriculture minisrty to take up spurious GM seeds issue: Pawar

Baramati (Maharashtra), March 17: Union Agriculture Minister Sharad
Pawar Sarturday said he had received reports of locations in a state
where natural seeds being mixed with Genetically Modified (GM) seeds,
thereby creating a spurious genetic breed.

"Recently I started getting complaints about particular areas, which I
will not disclose, where the spurious seeds are quite high and I am
taking up the issue with the respective state government," Pawar said here.

Pawar said the respective state governments also had sufficient power to
tackle the sale of spurious GM seeds.

Environmental organisations like Greenpeace had been opposing field
trials of GM seeds of crops like Bt-brinjal in the country, where seeds
were modified in order to be more pest-resistant.

They had also alleged that there was illegal mixing of GM seeds as well
as natural seeds by firms in states which were being then being sold to
farmers as Bt-seeds which could harm the environment.

"The use of these seeds (GM) has been opposed by European countries but
it must be understood that it was undertaken to ensure our food
security," Pawar said.

He also said sanction for the cultivation of GM crops was given only
after a period of six years after studying the impact of the crop on
humans, environment and animals.

When asked whether there were concerns over future trials in the
country, Pawar said, "The Supreme Court has given a verdict stating that
the trials of GM crops in the country must stop. All trials of Bt-crops
other than cotton have been stopped."

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                                 PART II
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TITLE:  Genetic seeds set to lift cotton output growth to 8.3% a year
SOURCE: The Financial Times, India
DATE:   16.03.2007

Genetic seeds set to lift cotton output growth to 8.3% a year

MUMBAI: Country's cotton production is expected to grow at 8.3% annually
for the next five years, because of increased usage of Bt cotton and
improved cotton processing, a government official said on Thursday.

However, the country hopes to become a net importer of cotton in about a
decade, he said. "We are following the Chinese model to become a net
importer of cotton and use that to turn out value-added fabrics," JN
Singh, commissioner, Union textile ministry said at a conference on Bt
cotton here on Thursday.

India, the world's third largest cotton producer is set to produce 27
million bales in the year to September 2007, he said. Cotton production
is expected to reach 39 million bales by 2011-'12. Each bale is
equivalent to 170 kg of cotton. Domestic consumption is expected to grow
12.3% annually to reach 37.5 million bales by 2011-'12.

"We may exceed this figure due to tremendous retail growth and per
capita consumption growth, which would boost cotton consumption," Mr
Singh said. India is likely to consume 23.5 million bales in the year to
September 2007. Mr Singh said yield per hectare has shot up to 500 kg
from 340 kg in 2003-'04, mainly due to introduction of Bt cotton.

Bt cotton cultivation is expected to increase to more than 60% of the
total area under cotton cultivation here in a few years, an official
said. Bt cotton, the first genetically modified crop grown here,
occupies 40% of the total cotton land now, chairman of the Agricultural
Scientists Recruitment Board, CD Mayee, said.

It is now grown on 3.8 million hectares of land, up from 29,000 hectares
in 2002, when it was first introduced, he said.

Bt cotton accounts for 65% of the total cotton produced in India, and
Gujarat and Punjab have been on the forefront of adopting Bt technology.
In India, 9.1 million hectares is under cotton cultivation.

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                                 PART III
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TITLE:  BT cotton cultivation unlikely this summer
SOURCE: The Financial Express
AUTHOR: Ashok B. Sharma
DATE:   15.03.2007

BT cotton cultivation unlikely this summer

NEW DELHI, MAR14: The Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC)
which met on Wednesday withheld any fresh approval of bt cotton for
commercial cultivation in the ensuing summer season.

About 11 BT cotton hybrids with CRY 1 AC gene expression, 5 BT cotton
hybrids expressing stacked genes and one bt cotton hybrid expressing
CRY1 AC event 1 was on the agenda for approval for commercial
cultivation. All these hybrids have gone through the requisite processes
of field trials. "We did not approve any new BT cotton hybrids for
commercial cultivation as the matter is subjudiced in the Supreme
Court," said a senior GEAC official.

The GEAC is awaiting further orders from the apex court, which in
response to a PIL filed by Aruna Rodrigues and other, had directed not
to accord any fresh approval for field trials of any genetically
modified (GM) crop, till the pendency of the case. However, the apex
court made an exception for the field trials of GM mustard. The Supreme
Court is slated to hear the case again on April 16.

However, in its last meeting on February 14, 2007, the GEAC had given
its approval for renewal of its permission for commercial cultivation of
8 BT cotton hybrids for three years.

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                                 PART IV
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TITLE:  Cotton seed confusion in poor countries
SOURCE: News Scientist Environment Blog, UK
AUTHOR: Catherine Brahic
DATE:   14.03.2007


Cotton seed confusion in poor countries

On the surface, the figures show the genetically modified Bt cotton
produced by Monsanto and a number of Indian partners has had real
success in India. The seed produces its own insecticide, and its market
share rose from 12% to 62% between 2003 and 2005. But according to Glenn
Stone of Washington University in St Louis <
7Eanthro/blurb/b_gds.html>, the numbers hide the fact that the modified
seeds are in fact contributing to a "complete breakdown in the cotton
cultivation system".

Stone looked at cotton production in the Warangal district of Andhra
Pradesh in India. He found that new seeds flooded the markets every
year: in 2005, there were 78 different brands of cottonseed being sold,
but only 24 of those had been around in 2003. You can read his research
paper here <>.

Stone reckons the high turnover reflects a breakdown of the traditional
approach of testing the performance of seeds and then sticking to the
best ones. Instead, Stone found that the farmers increasingly rely on
word-of-mouth, getting advice from their neighbours on what seeds to use
- which is all well and good until everyone is relying on everyone else,
which is what he says is going on now.

The confusion is exacerbated by the fact that some companies have taken
seeds that have fallen out of favour, and successfully re-launched them
under new names.

So it looks like introducing large numbers of new GM seeds, whatever the
effect on yield, brings the risk of undermining traditional - and
effective - farming practices. I have to say, blaming it all on company
greediness is a bit easy. In other parts of the world, traditional
farmers have been more wary of GM seeds. For example, in the Atlas
Mountains of Morocco, farmers have retained their approach to selecting
seeds, despite a government drive to introduce GM versions. (I wrote
about this in a chapter of a book called Dry <
catalog/MASDRY.html> in 2006.)

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                                 PART V
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TITLE:  Genetically modified crops - Lok Sabha
SOURCE: Press Information Bureau, Government of India, Inda
AUTHOR: Press Release, Ministry of Agriculture, India
DATE:   12.03.2007

Genetically modified crops - Lok Sabha

Bt. Cotton is the only Genetically Modified (GM) crop approved for
commercial cultivation by Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC)
in the Ministry of Environment and Forests, on the basis of
environmental and bio-safety evaluations. Harmful effects of Bt. Cotton
seeds on human and animal health, plant life and environment have not
been reported. There is no proposal with the Government to ban
production and sale of GM seeds duly approved by the GEAC on the basis
of their suitability in the various agro-climatic zone with regards to
their performance. Bt. Cotton seeds are being produced and marketed in
the country by private seed companies. The Government has organized
Public Awareness Programmes to educate the farmers about the risks and
benefits associated with the GM crops. This information was given in the
Lok Sabha [Lower House in the Parliament of India] today by Shri Kanti
Lal Bhuria, Minister of State for Agriculture in a written reply.

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