Agri Business

Mahyco denies violations during herbicide trials on non-Bt cotton

| | Updated on: Feb 21, 2011
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Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Company (Mahyco) has submitted to the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) that is has done no wrong in conducting herbicide trails in non-Bt refugee cotton seed.

“We have received their letter and clarified our position. We indicated the chronological events and relevant permissions to use the herbicide in refugee seed,” Dr Usha Barwale Zehr, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of Mahyco, told Business Line here on Monday.

Business Line had reported on February 10 that GEAC objected to company's trials in Bollgard-II with Round-up Ready Flex (RRF) in refugee seeds. RRF, an add-on to the second generation biotech cottonseed, gives the cotton plant the additional protection from herbicides. When sprayed, herbicides can only kill the unwanted weeds. The internal protection given by RRF would help the plant withstand the herbicide spray.

“When you are using RRF in the main crop, you have to have RRF protection for refugee seed too. Otherwise, it too will turn susceptible to herbicide,” she said.

Under Rules 1989

The committee, which grants permissions for biotechnology trials in the farm sector, argued that using RRF in non-Bt refuge crops amounted to using unapproved events and, thus, could not be allowed. It had decided to invoke Environmental (Protection) Act and asked the company why it should not take action against it for violations of Rules 1989.

Published on February 21, 2011

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