Monsanto to boost marketing

By SiliconIndia   |   Thursday, 29 May 2003, 07:00 Hrs
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HYDERABAD: Bt cotton seed Bollgard make Mahyco Monsanto Biotech India Limited (MMB) would engage an independent agency in India for the ensuing season to increase acreage under the seed brand, Bipin Solanki, the deputy managing director of MMB, announced here today.

The company was keen to raise the Bt cotton acreage in the country. While 72,682 acres were covered last year, the company would like to extend it to 7 lakh acres this year.

Bt cotton was introduced in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Madhya Pradesh.

To increase coverage of Bt cotton in Andhra Pradesh from last year’s 9,000 acres to 1,00,000 acres this season, Solanki clarified that random samples done by the company on its own across the seven states where the Bt cotton had been introduced showed better yields and quality characteristics compared to hybrids of similar staple varieties.

Responding to reports of less than expected yield and price realisation from Bt cotton MECH 162, Solanki said it was a medium staple variety and not comparable to other hybrids of long staple variety.

MMB would be promoting MECH 12 of long staple variety in Andhra Pradesh in the coming season.

Farmers from Warangal and Guntur districts in Andhra Pradesh hosted by the company at the media briefing said quality of cotton was good. They reported savings of around Rs 3000 per acre from lower use of insecticide and pesticides.

MMB claimed Bt cotton farming, if taken up as part of integrated pest management practices, could yield better results in terms of productivity and price realisation.

Farmers spend over Rs 1000 crore to control bollworms every year and Bt cotton would result in savings, MMB executives claimed.

Solanki said he was unaware of compensation demands made by farmers in Andhra Pradesh. There had not been any complaints from Andhra Pradesh cotton farmers, he stressed.

MMB was not aware of any report by the agriculture department or the NG Ranga Agriculture University to the state government, he added.

On denial of permission to sell MECH 915 variety in north India, Solanki pointed out that genetic engineering approval committee (GEAC) had not accorded permission as the variety did not have resistance to leaf curl virus (LCV).

He said the company’s R&D unit was addressing the issue.

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