Monsanto’s patent victory in India may grant farmers access to latest GMO crops

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Credit: Amit Dave/Reuters

Monsanto’s [recent] victory in a patent case in India regarding genetically modified (GM) cotton seeds has raised hopes among farmers that the company will now launch its next-generation seeds.

India approved Monsanto’s GM cotton seed trait in 2002 and an upgraded variety in 2006, helping transform the country into the world’s top producer and second-largest exporter of the fiber. But newer traits have not been available since the company withdrew an application in 2016 seeking approval for the latest variety due to a royalty dispute with the government and worries over patent claims.

“We don’t understand legal issues but we want new technologies,” Shrikant Kale, a cotton grower in Yavatmal district in the western state of Maharashtra, said by phone. “If the court verdict helps seed companies in bringing new technology, then it would be good for us as well.”

Related article:  Monsanto, GMOs and journalism ethics: Science writer Tamar Haspel responds to HuffPost attack on her work

“The entire biotechnology space has been liberated,” said Ram Kaundinya, director general of the Federation of Seed Industry of India that represents foreign and local seed companies including Monsanto and Syngenta.

Many biotechnology companies working on corn and other GM crops will now push hard to get government approvals for their seeds, [Kaundinya] said, declining to name the companies.

Read full, original article: After Monsanto patent ruling, Indian farmers hope for next-generation genetically modified seeds

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