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Pakistan to sign accord with Monsanto for Bt Cottonseed by December, 2010qrcode

Nov. 9, 2010

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Nov. 9, 2010

Pakistan to sign accord with Monsanto for Bt Cottonseed by December, 2010

ISLAMABAD: The government will sign an agreement with American based seed producing company Monsanto by the end of December, 2010, Business Recorder has learnt. The Ministry for Food and Agriculture (MinFa) and the American seed company Monsanto had singed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on April 10, 2010 for providing Bt Cottonseed to Pakistan.

In this connection, a high level delegation of Monsanto called on Federal Minister for Food and Agriculture Nazar Muhammad Gondal here on Thursday. The visiting delegation requested the federal government to direct environment ministry to give it Bio-safety clearance immediately. The delegation also requested the government to provide it guarantee that Punjab government would accept the agreement as so far Punjab government is not ready to sign agreement with Monsanto.

The Monsanto delegation was led by Dr Ty Vaughn; Director of the Global Cotton and Speciality Technology. Other members of the delegation were, Rick Gaudet, international cotton product lead, John Winski, Monsanto Assistant General Counsel, Paul Twine, business development lead Asia and Pacific, and Aamir Mirza, country head also attended the meeting.

Nazar Muhammad Gondal said that every thing must be done within the framework of the MoU. He said that Pakistans 80 percent land was irrigated in comparison to Indias 30 percent irrigated land. He said that Pakistan offers excellent business opportunities for Monsanto and prefers the seed quality of the company because of its better technology, he added. The agreement would revolutionise the seed sector of the country and significantly enhance the cotton production.

"The deal will increase our cotton production to fill the gap between supply and demand and meet our growing demands as Pakistans 60 percent exports are cotton related. Progress in cotton means growth in our exports", the minister maintained. Gondal further said that few more issues need to be addressed through negotiations, adding that Bollgard-II Cottonseed will be available to Pakistani farmers during next cotton season.

For the past several years, Pakistan has been a net importer in excess of 2 million bales due to an acute shortage in cotton production and this year Pakistani textile industry would be compelled to import over 4 million bales of raw cotton as the recent flood destroyed cotton crop across the country.

Biotechnology is one tool that can help increase the productivity of Pakistan agriculture. Worl-dwide, millions of farmers in over 20 countries are already reaping the benefits of Agri biotechnology, Dr Ty Vaughn said. Monsanto plans to introduce Bollgard-II cotton technology, which is undoubtedly the most extensively studied cotton technology globally. The rigorous scientific studies conducted demonstrate that Bollgard and its products are safe for the environment, human beings, animals and agriculture, Dr Ty Vaughn said.

He said, "We believe that Bt cotton technology will bring significant benefits for the Pakistani cotton farmers in terms of contributing towards increasing yields and farm income." He said that it would bring positive changes in the agriculture sector; especially it will improve cotton crop production, besides protecting the crop from various diseases.

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