By admin       2018-03-27

Earlier this month, the government cut royalties that local seed companies pay to Monsanto, for the second time in two years. This follows previous attempts to defang Monsanto. In February, for instance, the anti-trust regulator, the Competition Commission of India, decided to probe into anti-competitive practices by Monsanto. At the centre of all this is the pink bollworm infestation plaguing cotton farmers. Even though Bollgard 2, or BG-2, Monsanto’s second generation insecticidal technology for cotton, was supposed to protect crops against the pink bollworm, the pest has grown resistant to the toxins produced by this trait. As a result, farmers now spend more on pesticides to control infestations. This, along with the high cost of Bt seeds, is driving farmers to indigence. One solution suggested by the National Seed Association of India is for the government to encourage a move back to Bollgard, the first iteration of Bt cotton, as Monsanto hasn’t patented BG in India. Both BG, which has a single bacterial gene called CryA1C, and BG-2, which has CryA1C and Cry2AB2, are designed to protect against pink bollworm. BG began failing against the pest in 2009, while BG-2 began failing in 2014. Interestingly, none of the other 14 Bt cotton-growing countries have seen this resistance. China still successfully controls pink bollworm with first-generation Bt cotton. The U.S. and Australia are moving on to third-generation BG-3 without having faced this problem. Why did India suffer this unique misfortune?

Download App

# #

Member Login