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[genet-news] SCIENCE & POLICY: GM crop not yet a foolproof technology, admits All India Crop Biotechnology Association



                                  PART 1


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TITLE:  GM CROP NOT YET A FOOLPROOF TECHNOLOGY, ADMITS CROP BIOTECHNOLOGY BODY

SOURCE: Indian Express, India

AUTHOR: 

URL:    http://www.indianexpress.com/news/GM-crop-not-yet-a-foolproof-technology,-admits-crop-biotechnology-body/441014/

DATE:   31.03.2009

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GM CROP NOT YET A FOOLPROOF TECHNOLOGY, ADMITS CROP BIOTECHNOLOGY BODY

Allababad: The All India Crop Biotechnology Association (AICBA), an industry association of the major companies engaged in agricultural bio-technology in the country, has admitted that the genetically modified (GM) crop is not a foolproof technology as yet. It is still at an evolving stage, according to the association.

R K Sinha, Executive Director, AICBA, who was in Ahmedabad on Wednesday, said, ?The mealybug infestation on Bt Cotton in Gujarat clearly proves the same.? Taking a cue, the Government has decided not to commercially introduce any GM vegetable (read Bt brinjal) unless the trials establish the crop?s viability beyond doubt, he added.

Sinha, who is also executive director of the National Seed Association of India, further elaborated on the bio-tech priorities corresponding to the Indian scenario. GM crops ? are insect, pest, disease and stress resistance (can withstand drought, salinity and high temperatures), improve nutritional quality by bio-fortification; possess extended shelf life and can be used as bio-fuels ? are the need of the hour, the official added.

Representing the scientific community, Prof Swapan Dutta of University of Kolkatta, a former research scientist at the International Rice Research Institute, said that nearly 12 million farmers in 23 countries have adopted GM crops and their income has risen by 80 per cent.

?This has happened due to reduction in pesticide usage by 50 per cent and increase in productivity by more then two times,? he added.

Officials further informed that in Indian institutions such as the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, various state agricultural universities and the Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) are conducting field trails in rice, okra, cabbage, cauliflower, chickpea, groundnut, papaya, potato, tomato and brinjal.

?The Government of India has also established a regulatory mechanism comprising three ministries; Science and Technology, Environment and Forests, and Agriculture, along with a Genetic Engineering Approval Committee to ensure the safe introduction of GM crops,? Sinha said.



                                  PART 2

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TITLE:  BT COTTON CULTIVATION CATCHING UP IN ATTAPPADI AREA

SOURCE: Express Network, India

AUTHOR: 

URL:    http://www.expressbuzz.com/edition/story.aspx?Title=Bt+cotton+cultivation+catching+up+in+Attappadi+area&artid=auAmobstXU8=&SectionID=1ZkF/jmWuSA=&MainSectionID=fyV9T2jIa4A=&SectionName=X7s7i%7CxOZ5Y=&SEO=

DATE:   30.03.2009

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BT COTTON CULTIVATION CATCHING UP IN ATTAPPADI AREA

PALAKKAD: The Bt cotton is being widely cultivated in the Attappadi area and initial estimates point out that it is spread over 500 acres.

These facts were revealed in a study conducted by the Wild Life Protection Society of India, New Delhi, and Thanal, an organisation based in Thiruvananthapuram.

Two years back, Bt cotton was being cultivated only in Attappadi. But now, no farmer is using the traditional variety of cotton seed or even the hybrid variety of TCH 213 and MCH 213 seed.

The Bt cotton is being cultivated in Pudur, Dodagatti, Kolapadiga, Manjangandi, Pallur, Vellampadika, Nelliampathy, Kadambada, Chavadiyoor, Narasimukku, Kalmakiyoor, Thekkemakkiyoor, Kottathara and Bommiampadi. In areas like Bommiampadi, it is for the first time that Bt cotton is being cultivated.

?The seeds used are the Rasi variety ( RCBH 708 Bt cotton) and they are marketed directly by the companies.

The Bt cotton seed is being sold in Kottathara in Attappadi (a 450 gm packet cost Rs 750). Some farmers purchase it from Coimbatore where it cost around Rs 890 for 450 gm?, said the project officer and South India coordinator of the Wild Life Protection Society of India S Guruvayurappan.

He said that it was the threat from animals like wild pigs and boars that prompts the farmers to switch from ragi, jowar and millets to cotton.

Along with the cotton seed packet of 450 gm, the seed companies provide a set of seeds known as the ?protection shield? which the companies claim helps thwart the attack of Bolworms.

In the first year, the farmers of Attappadi got a yield of 800 kg or 8 quintals per acre which has now reduced to 6 and 3.5 quintals.

The Wild Life Protection Society of India recently conducted awareness programmes for the farmers of Attappadi and screened a documentary to show the ill-effects of the use of Bt cotton seeds.

One of the after effects of Bt cotton cultivation is that highly toxic pesticides are being used to counter the attack of pests. Earlier, a Coimbatore- based mill was purchasing organic cotton from the farmers for export. However, when one of their consignments was found contaminated and rejected, they stopped the purchase, said Guruvayurappan.

Neither the Department of Agriculture or the Attappadi Hill Area Development Society (Ahads) are aware of the cultivation of Bt cotton in the Attappadi area which has caught-up just recently.

The Wild life Protection Society of India have already petitioned the State Bio Diversity Board and Agriculture Minister Mullakara Retnakaran to intervene and take the necessary remedial measures.


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