By admin       2018-01-22

Monsanto to govt Terming that industry body NSAI's threat to stop sale of BT cotton seeds as "irresponsible", US-based biotech major Monsanto's India JV firm MMBL has written to the government asserting that its BT technology seeds continues to be effective in controlling pest. National Seed Association of India (NSAI) has blamed the MMBL for loss of BT cotton crop in this Kharif season in Maharashtra due to pink bollworm infestation. It has asked the company to take the "complete responsibility" else its members will not sell any BT cotton seeds. Countering the allegations, Mahyco Monsanto Biotech (MMBL) -- which has sub-licensed Bt cotton seed technology to various domestic seed firms -- has written a letter to Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh saying that its Bollgard-II technology continues to be effective in controlling pest. "We categorically disagree with the NSAI's positions, find their threat to stop supply of cotton seeds with BG-II technology as completely irresponsible and against farmer interest," MMBL said in the letter. The resistance development in pests is a natural process. Non-adoption of best practices has led to pink bollworm infestation in Maharashtra but it has been managed well in many states including Gujarat during Kharif 2017, it said. "Non-adoption of product usage guidelines has led to development of resistance in certain populations of pink bollworm (PBW) in certain geographies, as was experienced in Maharashtra," it added. MMBL said it would be "irresponsible" on the part of NSAI to deprive farmers of this technology to tackle bollworm pest, which could cause yield losses of more than 50 per cent. "NSAI's threat to stop supplies of cotton seeds with BG- II technology appears to be blatant attempt to coerce key stakeholders and create a crisis for cotton farmers," it said. The company assured full support in assisting the central and state governments to curb this problem. To address the pest issue, MMBL called for "concerted and collaborative effort" by all stakeholders and not in "stopping access to technology" that has proven immensely beneficial to farmers. Separately, MMBL has also written to NSAI that it was not responsible for development of resistance in pink bollworm and hence not liable to pay any compensation

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