HT cotton use: AP lists out suspended varieties

KV Kurmanath Hyderabad | Updated on March 27, 2019 Published on March 27, 2019

The Andhra Pradesh Government has modified its January order on cancellation and suspension of licences of several seed firms that faced allegations of contamination of herbicide tolerant (HT) technology in cottonseeds.

After conducting an investigation into the incidence of illegal use of the technology, the Director (Seeds) of Agriculture of Andhra Pradesh, has cancelled the licence of Narmada Sagar and suspended licences of 13 seed companies for one year.

The Department was acting on complaints that traces of HT technology, which has not received permission from the Central regulator Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC), had been found in the fields of some farmers.

However, the seed firms, through the National Seed Association of India, had sent an appeal to the Department asking them to repeal the cancellation and suspension orders. They asked for a proper testing and checking mechanism to keep tabs on the unscrupulous players.

They also protested against the blanket order on all the products. HT cottonseed technology is a third-generation GM (genetically modified) technology for cotton. The technology gives the plant internal strength to protect itself from herbicide sprays that are targeted at weeds.

No commercial use

The GEAC has not given permission for the technology to be used commercially. However, the area under HT cotton is reported to be 20-25 per cent in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh alone, with unscrupulous players supplying HT seeds to farmers.

Meanwhile, the Appellate Authority and Special Commissioner of Agriculture, after studying various representations, has issued an order specifying particular seeds that stand suspended.

The authority upheld the cancellation of the centralised seed license of Narmada Sagar Agri Seeds. It specified certain varieties of seeds of some companies that stand suspended for one year. The varieties (with the name of the company in the bracket) include: NCS 459 Bollgard-II (Nuziveedu Seeds); KCH 707 BGII (Kaveri Seed); and Ankur-3028 BGII (Ankur Seeds).

While listing out the varieties under suspension, the Additional Director of Agriculture (Seeds) and Licensing Authority of Andhra Pradesh has directed the officials to inform dealers and farmers about the development.

He cautioned that strict action would be taken against those who violated the orders.

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Published on March 27, 2019
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