Telangana to curb sale of unapproved Monsanto cotton seed

The Telangana state government recently directed all district collectors to take stringent action against sale and supply of unapproved herbicide tolerant (HT) cotton variety developed by Monsanto and directed them to immediately destroy the produce. 

The state is concerned over widespread cultivation of this genetically-engineered cotton seed by farmers.

State principal secretary C Parthasarathi, in his letter to district collectors, said the cotton variety under the commercial name Round-up Ready Flex (RRF) has been released into the field in a lot of zones and is contaminating other cotton hybrids, posing a threat to biological resources due to usage of glyphosate, according to Indian media reports. Herbicide glyphosate is reportedly carcinogenic.

Monsanto had applied for permission through its Indian business partner Mahyco to Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) for commercial release of RRF in India, but its application was withdrawn in 2015. But cultivation of that particular unapproved cotton variety is spreading fast in cotton growing states, including Telangana, Parthasarathi said.

The dealers and companies behind the spread of these unapproved seeds will be punished, he added. 

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