Mumbai, May 6 (UNI) The Genetic Engineering and Approval Committee (GEAC) under the aegis of the Union Ministry of Environment&Forests has granted regulatory clearance to sixteen new Bollgard cotton hybrids in North and Central India.
In effect, this approval means that farmers across these regions will now have access to a total of 36 Bollgard cotton hybrids, in the 2006 planting season, said an official press release.
Regulatory approval is given to seven new seed companies (Ganga Kaveri, Ajeet, Tulasi, Vikram, Vikki Agrotech, Emergent Genetics and Parvardhan) this year along with the existing four seed companies (Mahyco, Nuziveedu, Ankur and Rasi). These companies are sub licensees of Mahyco Monsanto Biotech (India) Ltd(MMB) and have followed rigorous and large-scale field trials conducted in accordance with GEAC guidelines.
With this increase, the number of Bollgard hybrids available in the North and Central Zone has risen to 12 (from 6) and 22 (from 12) respectively. From the time Bollgard was launched in India in 2002, it has been planted by over a million farmers across 3.1 million acres in nine cotton growing states.
The 2005 IMRB survey estimates show that there has been a 64 percent or 4.16 quintals per acre increase in Bollgard yields, when compared with conventional cotton. The net profit increase for farmers using Bollgard is Rs 6727 per acre or over 118 percent. Another key finding is the reduction of an average 2.4 pesticide sprays against bollworm that translates to a 25 percent reduction in total esticides spend.
These figures are testament to the continuing success and acceptance of the technology in India. MMB is a 50:50 marketing JV between Mahyco and Monsanto Holdings Private Limited. MMB has co-licensing agreements with a number of Indian cotton seed companies to bring Bollgard to the Indian farmers.
UNI SN PM SKB1823