Sunday, January 1, 2012

Govt. to clarify on Hyped ‘Desi Bt’ Cotton Seeds of (CICR) - VJAS

Govt. to clarify on Hyped ‘Desi Bt’ Cotton Seeds of (CICR) - VJAS

Nagpur- Dated 1ST January 2012

Vidarbha cotton farmers urged India's Govt. to come clean on recent reported controversy of Hyped ‘Desi Bt’ Cotton Seeds having developed its own by Central Institute of Cotton Research (CICR) and Agriculture universities having spent hundred of crores over so called research which has put ICAR in Bt cotton (genetically modified) variety has taken an embarrassing turn with an RTI inquiry by two scientists revealing how the University of Agriculture Sciences (UAS) at Dharwad went ahead brushing aside all precautions to produce an indigenous variety working on a gene originally patented by Monsanto, Kishor Tiwari of Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti, a farmers’ advocacy group who are documenting Bt.cotton crop failure and farmers suicides in vidarbha since 2005 informed in a press release today.

“It is true that in 2009, the Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR) had decided to stop the sale of Bikaneri Narma Bt Cotton seed marketed state owned seed corporation MAHABEEJ as an “completely indigenous Bt variety”,having failed to give any positive result . Bikaneri Narma was released for farmers as BN Bt by Central Institute for Cotton Research (CICR) in 2009. It was reported by CICR Director Keshav Kranthi that DESI Bt.cotton seeds will be available for Rs 200 per 2 kg bag as against Rs 1150 per 450 gm bag of Monsanto’s Bt.cotton seed currently sold by national and multinational companies like Monsanto permitted sed companies like Mahyco, Rasi, Ankur and Nuziveedu. It was called an indigenous Bt “variety” as distinct from the Monsanto hybrid where farmers have to buy fresh seeds each season. Farmers could re-use BN Bt cotton seeds for many years but within year then ICAR’s DDG S K Dutta, having received pressure from Agriculture Ministry stopped commercial sale of Bn Bt in 2009, hence we want Govt. Clarification recent developments and reports which exposes CICR activities as illegal and misleading to fact that Bt. Gen. where officially purchased by ICAR from Monsanto followed by baseless claims and counter claims of CICR Director Keshav Kranthi are mush more humiliating and creating doubts about integrality of CICR’’ Tiwari added.

‘In June 2009 to there was questions raised by vidarbha cotton farmers over CICR Director Keshav Kranthi claims that DESI Bt.cotton seed of CICR is beneficial in drought-tolerant, non-irrigated areas and is also resistant to sucking pests like jassids and aphids and VJAS had urged Indian Govt. to take official stand over this ICAR activity as our experience with Monsanto’s Bt,cotton seed is too bad to believe in any more Desi Bt.cotton seed as GM technology is based on gene which only available in part of America then it is must for Indian Govt. to clarify on the claims of CICR ” Kishore Tiwari further added.

It is reported in June 2009 that the white elephant research institute of Indian council of agriculture search (ICAR) the Central Institute of Cotton Research (CICR) in Nagpur after ten long years of research punctuated with technical delays, is ready with 20,000 packets of desi Bt cotton seeds for distribution to farmers starting next month in four states. CICR also claimed that the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC), the apex body which clears GM crops, had okayed the Indian strain on May 2 last year this variety will enable farmers to replicate seeds for the next sowing and CICR’s DESI Bt.cotton variety needs very little fertiliser and pesticide, the farmer can save nearly 4,000 per acre in the first year (Rs 1,000 on seeds, Rs 2,000 on pesticides and Rs 1,000 on fertilisers) and about Rs 4,500 per acre every subsequent year since he won’t have to buy seeds. One seed of the desi Bt can produce up to 200-300 seeds which is not possible with Monsanto’s Bt,cotton seed more over Monsanto’s Bt.cotton seeds has been failed in vidarbha’s dry land cotton fields resulting more than 10,000 cotton farmers after Indian Govt. permitted commercial trials of Monsanto’s Bt.cotton seed hence there are serious issues involved in Rs.4000 crore Bt. Cotton Indian market and role of union agriculture ministry to create monopoly of US Gm seed Giant Monsanto, Tiwari said.

Thanking you,

Yours faithfully,

Vidarbha Janandolan Samiti




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