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March 25, 2002


NEWS FLASH: India Approves Bt Cotton Commercialization


Dear AgBioView Readers:

India has finally joined the community of progressive nations by approving
the first biotech crop for use by its farmers. See below for news item.
More details will follow soon,

- Prakash
NEW DELHI (Reuters) - The government's environment panel said on Tuesday
it would allow the use of a genetically modified cotton variety for
commercial production subject to certain conditions.

"Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) has approved the release of
BT (bacillus thuringiensis) cotton into the environment of the country
with certain conditions," GEAC chairman A.M. Gokhale told reporters.

He said conditions were being "finetuned" and would be announced on
Wednesday. Approval by the GEAC, set up by the Union environment ministry,
is mandatory for field trials and commercial production of GM crops in the
country. The panel did not specify which variety was cleared.

India has so far only allowed a few firms and research bodies to undertake
field trials of gene-altered crops.

Traders say India has the world's largest cotton-growing area but its
yield is only about 300 kg per hectare -- below half the glob laverage of
650 kg.



Mar 26, 2002: GEAC clears use of Bt cotton
Mar 26, 2002: GEAC to decide fate of Bt cotton
Dec 21, 2001: Controversy over BT cotton to end
Dec 16, 2001: Bt cotton sold in Maharashtra: CICR
Dec 4, 2001: Seed firms lobby for support on BT cotton
Dec 1, 2001: Cotton farmers dispute monopoly scheme
Dec 1, 2001: Stir in Maharashtra over cotton prices
Nov 23, 2001: Gujarat farmers keen to use BT cotton
Nov 17, 2001: Centre urged to bail out cotton crop
Nov 11, 2001: Gujarat fields debate on BT cotton
Nov 10, 2001: AP farmers root for BT cotton seeds
Nov 8, 2001: Navbharat seeds illegally distributed
Nov 6, 2001: Controversy over BT cotton seeds
Oct 11, 2001: DBT wants genetic cotton destroyed

GEAC clears use of Bt cotton
in New Delhi and cleared the entry of the controversial seed.

While some cotton farmers have lobbied for the sale of the seed because of
its high yield and it being pest resistant, environmentalists have argued
that Bt Cotton needs further testing and that it could prove
counter-productive in the long run.


Govt clears use of Bt cotton

Times of India: PTI [ TUESDAY, MARCH 26, 2002 5:19:58 PM ]

EW DELHI: In a significant decision, the Genetic Engineering Approval
Committee on Tuesday cleared the release of Bt Cotton for commercial use
on certain conditions.

"The terms are being finalised and they will be released tomorrow," GEAC
chief A M Gokhale said here Tuesday.

The decision was taken in a meeting of the GEAC here and the conditions
for usage of Bt cotton were being worked out.

The conditions were to be signed by all the members, he added.

The issue of commercial use of Bt cotton has been hanging fire for the
last four years and the decision by the GEAC, the multi-disciplinary body
under the environment ministry, comes after a long and heated debate
between those who are for and those who are against the cultivation of the
insect-protected variety of cotton.