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Monsanto to launch BGII RRF cotton in India next yearqrcode

Jul. 9, 2012

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Jul. 9, 2012
Monsanto will roll out the third generation biotechnology product in cotton next year. Ten years after it introduced the second generation Bollgard-II technology that provided twin protection to the cotton plants, the St Louis, US-based seed technology company is in the final stages of the regulatory process ahead of the launch of the technology.

Bollgard II Roundup Ready Flex (BGII RRF) would offer protection against weeds, besides continuing protection against insects. Called Roundup-Ready Flex (RRF), this technology would go for last of the trials this season before going for necessary permissions for commercial launch next year, Mr Amitabh Jaipuria, Managing Director of Monsanto India, told Business Line.

RRF technology gives the plant the internal strength to withstand herbicides. While other weeds around the plant die after application of herbicide, those with this technology will live on.

"Weedicide technology is quite relevant for agriculture in India, keeping in view huge shortages in labour,” he argued.

The company is also lining up a corn technology that equips the seed with a gene that can fight stem borer, which is causing widespread crop losses.

Concerns

Mr Amitabh denied allegations against the agri biotech products and on the safety of genetically-modified food. “All the opposition is from incoherent sources. They have no valid reasons to denounce this technology. If they are so keen (on their allegations), they can as well go for university-led experiments to study the ill-effects of GM crops,” he said.

On the issue of labelling, he said there was no clarity on what exactly organic farming was.

"Pesticides cause more harm. Our point is there is no change in the final product. How does it matter how it is produced. You can label wherever the product is different,” he said.

Cost of technology

On high technology costs (for farmers), he said one should look at the incomes they are generating using biotech seeds. “You must see the incremental benefits. At Rs 400, the technology cost is less than one per cent of the output value of Rs 45,000,” he said.

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