GLOBAL: Monsanto develops drought resistant genetically modified cotton

ST.LOUIS: Seed-player Monsanto has been developing a drought resistant genetically modified cotton variety; Monsanto Executive vice-president, Jerry Steiner, told reporters here on March 30.

The drought resistant genetically modified cotton variety could possibly be released by 2015 for commercial cultivation he hopes.

They hope to release a drought tolerant cotton seed by the middle of next decade. However, they would be able to say for sure after five years, when the variety is to be released.

The company is currently doing research to develop genetically-engineered seeds that can minimise the use of fertilisers; the Monsanto official said.

GM seeds are basically known for reducing the risk of pest in the crops, while helping farmers to reduce their investment with lesser use of pesticides and insecticides.

Allegations that Monsanto was charging an exorbitant amount as technology fees from the Indian companies were denied by Steiner, saying that it was not correct.

The high technology fees is said to be the main reason for the inflated prices of Monsanto's GM seeds, which were reduced to some extent after intervention by the MRTPC.

Steiner admitting that high prices of seeds is an issue. He said the cost of seeds should be viewed in the context of returns that farmers may earn from Bt Cotton.

He also said his company stopped release of the second generation Bollgard, a GM cotton seed, in China because the country had a poor record of respecting intellectual property rights.

Steiner says that they are in India for the last 50 years and would continue to be here for long. He prevented short of praising India on intellectual property issue.

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Added: April 3, 2007 Source: Agencies
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