BT cotton seeds sowing from next kharif

Minister for Food and Agriculture Nazar Muhammad Gondal talking to Dawn said the country will officially announce the plantation of BT cotton from April 2010. He added that the country was expected to touch production of 14 million bales next year. He said that around 20 per cent certified BT cotton would be planted next year and the cultivation area would continue to grow till the country achieves more than 90 per cent cultivation of BT cotton. The Minfal officials said that the current cotton production was low due to heavy prevalence of unapproved seeds in the country. Almost 80 per cent of cotton farmers are using unapproved and unspecified seeds, said a senior official of the ministry adding that the production would gradually improve after re-introduction of certified seeds.

Pakistan produced 14.6 million bales in 2004-05
Pakistan produced 14.6 million bales in 2004-05 but less than two per cent area was under BT cotton, the official said adding that now more than 80 per cent cotton growers were using BT cotton and the production was declining. These seeds have low resistance and are prone to various diseases that was causing production loss and increasing the input cost, the official said. Pakistan has developed the disease-resistant seeds of BT cotton as it was the basic requirement before the official launch of bio-tech cotton in the country. The public sector labs have produced a curl leave virus (CLVC) resistance seed and it was in its final tests.

The new seed would be implanted the genes of BT cotton
The Pakistan Central Cotton Committee (PCCC) has been experimenting on ten crops at various locations, while the Pakistan Agriculture Research Council has been conducting tests over CLVC with Chinese experts. The simple solution was to develop a cross of desi and wild cotton. The new seed would be implanted the genes of BT cotton. The ministry was in the final phase of negotiations with two local and six international firms, including Monsanto, the US-based agro firm, which would be importing BT cotton seeds from its facilities in India. The minister said that imported BT cotton seed may dominate the market in 2010 but local certified seeds would take the majority share in coming years.


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