A top Indian cotton-producing state has ordered an inspection of fields planted with an unapproved variety of genetically modified seeds developed by Monsanto, which is fighting to retain its market in the world’s biggest grower of the fiber.
Farmers in Andhra Pradesh have planted 15 percent of the cotton area in the state with Bollgard II Roundup Ready Flex (RRF), prompting the local government on Friday [Oct. 6] to form a panel of officials to “inspect the fields of farmers growing RRF”.
The order, issued by senior Andhra Pradesh official B. Rajasekhar, did not say how the farmers accessed the unapproved variety of genetically modified (GM) cotton.
“It’s a matter of grave concern that some seed companies, while suppressing their real intent of profiteering, are attempting to illegally incorporate unauthorized and unapproved herbicide-tolerant technologies into their seeds,” a Monsanto spokesman said.
Bollgard II RRF is a proprietary technology owned by Monsanto, the world’s biggest seed maker, which last year withdrew its application seeking approval from the regulator, Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC), for this variety.
The withdrawal was seen as a major escalation in a long-running dispute between the Indian government and Monsanto, which is also locked in a bitter battle with Andhra Pradesh-based Nuziveedu Seeds Ltd.
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