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Commercial Release of Desi Bt Cotton Next Year

Hyderabad - Beginning 2009, farmers in the country can buy desi Bt cotton seeds which they can reuse like any other varietal seeds. Developed by the Central Institute for Cotton Research at Nagpur, the Bikaneri Narma would be made ready for farm use in the next season.

Addressing a press conference organised by the All-India Crop Biotechnology Association (AICB) here on Wednesday, Prof. K C Bansal of National Research Centre on Plant Biotechnology, said a variety of experiments was underway to fight virus, abiotic stresses, fungus, fruit borer and fruits that could have longer shelf life.

He said the desi Bt version would help the cotton farmers to use the seed for the subsequent crop seasons unlike the present Bt seeds that required the farmers to buy every season. He, however, pointed out that the efficacy could diminish as seasons passed by.

Stating that GM (genetically modified) crops were safe and required to ensure food security, he said the country would have rice, wheat, soya, tomato, banana and brinjal crops that could withstand a variety of problems such as insects, drought, pests and salinity. This, according to him, would increase productivity significantly.

Giving an overview on the research being done in the ICAR Network on Transgenic Crops, he cited the example of experiments on tomatoes with delayed ripening and improved quality. The much awaited Golden Rice too could see the light of the day next year.

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