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Crop Biotech Update

Indian Farmers May Soon Adopt Indigenously Developed Insect Resistant Cotton

May 17, 2017

Three genetically modified (Bt) and indigenously developed varieties of cotton seeds are expected to be commercially released in India for the first time. According to government officials, the cotton seeds PAU-1, RS 2013, and F-1861 have been recommended by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) for commercial release. The seeds can be re-used by farmers in the following planting seasons and are expected to be available in cheaper prices than the current Bt cotton varieties in the market. The average yield of the seeds is estimated at 500kg per hectare, which is higher than the yield of conventional cotton seeds and close to the average yield of existing Bt cotton seeds.

"We welcome the move to commercially release indigenously produced Bt cotton but it remains to be seen whether this is parallel to the existing BG-2. If priced significantly lower than existing seeds, it can have some attraction among farmers, mainly in those areas where pink bollworm is not a big problem," said Kalyan Goswami, executive director of National Seed Association of India.

Read more from the Genetic Literacy Project.