Crop Biotech Update

SABC Explains Why Hybrids Cost More than OPVs

October 14, 2015

The South Asia Biotechnology Centre (SABC) explained different methods and the process of cotton hybrid seed production to a 28-member African delegation visiting hybrid cotton seed production plots in Jalna district of Maharashtra in India on October 1, 2015. The African delegation with the help of Indian cotton farmers learned and performed emasculation and pollination of male-female parents of cotton plants in the field. They also learned the skills and man-days required for hybridization of cotton plants and interacted with Indian farmers who explained why hybrid seeds are relatively more expensive than the open pollinated varieties (OPVs).

Indian farmers demonstrated two methods of cotton hybrid seed production in field conditions: conventional hand emasculation and pollination method; and new generation male sterility based hybridization method. The delegates agreed that yields of cotton can be improved by the introduction of cotton hybrids. They realized that hybrid cotton seeds not only produce high yields in farmers' fields, but also generate millions of jobs in producing them.

Details of hybrid cotton seed production are available in the ICAR/CICR Technical Bulletin No. 35. For more on this event and biotech developments in Africa and India, contact Dr. Margaret Karembu of ISAAA AfriCenter (, or Mr. Bhagirath Choudhary of the South Asia Biotechnology Center (