GEAC Rejects 3 Varieties of Monsanto Bt Cotton in Andhra Pradesh
ASHOK B SHARMA / Financial Express (India) 4may2005
Andhra Pradesh government had given
adverse reports on the performance of Bt cotton"
— a senior GEAC member
NEW DELHI, MAY 3 — The regulatory authority, Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) disallowed commercial cultivation of three varieties of Mahyco-Monsanto’s Bt cotton hybrids in Andhra Pradesh.
These three varieties are Mech-12 Bt, Mech-162 Bt and Mech-184 Bt. These varieties completed three years of commercial cultivation and were waiting for the renewal at the beginning of the current season.
The GEAC also disallowed commercial cultivation of Mech-12 Bt in entire south India on receiving adverse reports about its performance in the last three years. Mech-12 can only be cultivated in Maharashtra, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. Mech-162 Bt and Mech-184 Bt will continue to be cultivated in southern states, with the exception of Andhra Pradesh and also in central India, consisting of Gujarat, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh.
Mech-12 Bt, Mech-162 Bt and Mech-184 Bt were approved in March 2002 for commercial cultivation in south India and central India. The GEAC deferred its decision, twice in the past two months, on the proposal to renew the extension period for these three Bt cotton varieties.
“It was a very difficult decision,” said a senior GEAC member. He said, “This decision was taken on receiving adverse reports from about 20 farmers’ organisations. The Andhra Pradesh government had given adverse reports on the performance of Bt cotton, while other states like Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh have sent mixed reports. Gujarat government has not sent any reports so far.”
Speaking to FE the leader of Farmers-Industry Alliance, P Chengal Reddy said, “GEAC should have allowed commercial cultivation of these Bt cotton hybrids in Andhra Pradesh. Farmers have already booked order for 300,000 bags of Bt cotton seeds with the local dealers.”
However, the GEAC, in its meeting on Tuesday, approved four new Bt cotton hybrids for commercial cultivation in south India, including Andhra Pradesh. “This has been done to again give a choice to Andhra farmers,” said a GEAC member.
The four new Bt cotton hybrids allowed for commercial cultivation in south India are — MRC-6322 Bt and MRC-6918 Bt developed by Mahyco and RCH-20 Bt and RCH-368 Bt developed by Rasi Seed. The GEAC did not approve Bunny Bt and Mallika Bt seeds developed by Nuziveedu Seeds for commercial cultivation in south India. The decision on these two seeds has been deferred till next meeting after receiving DNA fingerprint reports.
For central India, GEAC approved five new Bt cotton hybrids for commercial cultivation, namely RCH-144 Bt and RCH-118 Bt developed by Rasi Seed, MRC-6301 Bt developed by Mahyco and Ankur-681 and Ankur-09 developed by Ankur Seeds. GEAC also approved about 20 large scale field trials for different types of Bt cotton in south and central India.
source: http://www.financialexpress.com/fe_full_story.php?content_id=89912 4may2005