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Web Exclusive | September 2016

CICR plans 15 desi cotton seeds

Nagpur-based Central Institute of Cotton Research (CICR) plans to launch nearly 15 varieties of desi cotton seeds in March next year, in order to substitute for Bt cotton. This year, CICR began trial cultivation of 15 indigenous varieties of cotton seeds, the results of which will be out by December. In April this year, US-based Monsanto, which makes genetically-modified Bt seeds, had threatened to quit the Indian market. Then, CICR had informed the Government that it is coming up with Indian varieties which can substitute for Bt cotton.

Trials are currently underway at various locations throughout the country. The seeds were recommended for specific regions depending on the suitability. The seeds have similar qualities as compared to Bt seeds in terms of staple length and other features, said a source.

The new varieties are expected to increase the seed choice for the cotton grower other than the genetically modified Bt cotton. The Indian variety could be available at much cheaper rates. At present, CICR offers seven varieties of indigenous cotton seeds and 5-6 types of American variety. The introduction of nearly 15 new Indian varsities will increase the choice for farmers, said a senior official at CICR.
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