MMB launches anti-illegal seeds awareness campaign

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Ahmedabad, Apr 22 (UNI) Mahyco Monsanto Biotech (MMB), India, has claimed that a joint effort by the government and MMB had helped to reduce the usage of illegal cotton seeds by farmers of Gujarat, Punjab and Maharashtra.

Addressing reporters here today, MMB Senior Manager Christopher Samuel said ''We had initiated an anti-illegal seeds awareness campaign and urged farmers to buy Bollgard Bt cotton seeds from genuine traders that too on the basis of an original cash bill.

He said MMB's anti-illegal awareness campaign is in keeping with the Monsanto Pledge to achieve 'our single minded objective of increasing crop productivity to help farmers enjoy better yields and better lives.' The campaign also educates the farmers of using bollgard bt cotton seeds which gave them higher yields resulting increased income.

The main reasons for adoption of illegal seeds can be attributed to its lower prices, easy availability among unscrupulous traders and Gujarat has high production of illegal seeds which has no approval from the ministry, Mr Samuel pointed out.

''With our hectic campaign over 2,164 villages in Gujarat, where over 76,000 farmers have promised to purchase seeds only with a proper bill, will result to stop these unethical infringers from cheating innocent farmers and harming the economy,'' In addition, he said that the government has also conducted awareness using circulars, press advertisements to highlight the risk of illegal seeds and benefits of genuine Bollgard Bt cotton seeds all of which has helped to reduce the acreage of illegal seeds -- 21.7 lakh acres during 2006 to 15.8 lakh acres in 2007.

Within six years of the launch of Bollgard Bt cotton in 2002, India's cotton production has doubled making it the second largest producer and third largest exporter of cotton in the world. Cotton production in India is expected to reach global levels in productivity, thanks to the genetically modified 'Bollgard' Bt cotton seeds. More than half the acreage of cotton in the country planted Bt cotton and the yield crossed 310 lakh bales and more area is expected to be covered by Bt cotton during 2008, Mr Samuel added.


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