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PLANTS: Monsanto working on drought-tolerant GM cotton



                                 PART I
------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------
TITLE:  "Monsanto working on drought-tolerant GM cotton"
SOURCE: The Hindu, India
AUTHOR: Press Trust of India
URL:    http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/holnus/008200703170360.htm
DATE:   17.03.2007
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"Monsanto working on drought-tolerant GM cotton"

New Delhi, March 17 (PTI): World's leading seed-player 'Monsanto' has
been developing a drought resistant genetically modified cotton variety,
which could possibly be released by 2015 for commercial cultivation.

"We hope to release a drought tolerant cotton seed by the middle of next
decade," Monsanto Executive vice-president, Jerry Steiner, told
reporters here on Friday.

"However, after five years we would be able to say for sure, when the
variety is to be released," he added.

The Monsanto official also said the company is currently doing research
to develop genetically-engineered seeds that can minimise the use of
fertilisers.

GM seeds are basically known for reducing the risk of pest in the crops,
while helping farmers reduce their investment with lesser use of
pesticides and insecticides.

Steiner denied allegations that Monsanto was charging an exorbitant
amount as technology fees from the Indian companies, saying "it is not
correct."

The high technology fees is said to be the main reason for the inflated
prices of Monsanto's GM seeds, which were reduced to some extent after
intervention by the MRTPC.

Admitting that high prices of seeds is an issue, Steiner said the cost
of seeds should be viewed in the context of returns that farmers earn
from Bt Cotton.

The Monsanto official also said his company stopped release of the
second generation Bollgard, a GM cotton seed, in China because the
country had a poor record of respecting intellectual property rights.

Stopping short of praising India on intellectual property issue, Steiner
said, "We are here for the last 50 years and would continue to be here
for long."


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                                 PART II
------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------
TITLE:  Monsanto to deprive bt cotton transgenic technology from China
SOURCE: Bharat Textile, India
AUTHOR: 
URL:    http://www.bharattextile.com/newsitems/2003314
DATE:   17.03.2007
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Monsanto to deprive bt cotton transgenic technology from China

NEW DELHI: The US biotech major, Monsanto is planning to transfer its
next generation transgenic technology to India after experiencing
problems in China for its second generation Bt technology due to
intellectual property violation, executive vice president, Monsanto Inc,
Jerry Steiner said here on March 16.

Jerry Steiner commented that China has no respect for intellectual
property rights and are ready to transfer next generation transgenic
technology to India as they are concentrating on developing new
transgenic traits of three key crops like corn, soybeans and cotton.

The crops will be developed for drought resistance, for ensuring higher
and stable yields in rain fed areas and for ensuring lesser use of
nitrogenous fertilizers.

Steiner claimed that Bt cotton cultivation has helped farmers raise
their income and the very fact that area under Bt cotton is increasing
shows the growing acceptability among farmers.

Monsanto has transferred Bt technology to the joint venture Mahyco
Monsanto Biotech (MMB) and MMB apart from marketing Bt cotton seeds
produced by Mahyco has sub-licensed the technology to 23 Indian seed
companies.

However, he admitted there were failure of Bt cotton crops in some areas
of the country and attributed it to 'weather conditions'; whereas on the
high pricing issue of Bt cotton seeds stated that it is a competitive
market and farmers buy our seeds despite the price factor.

He further added that consumers' preference may be different, but
farmers gain through cultivation as some of the domestic industry
entrepreneurs raised the issue of global consumers not preferring GM
food, which may come in the way of export prospects.


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