Govt urged to provide R&D funds for BT cotton sowing
By Razi Syed
KARACHI: The government should provide sufficient funds to agriculture research institutions to prevent the environmental hazards regarding the sowing of BT cotton variety in the country.
A senior trader Ghulam Rabbani said Monday the rules and regulations regarding sowing of Bio-tech (BT) cotton should be finalised as soon as possible to ensure that the sowing of BT cotton should not cause environmental hazards. He said there was need to invite all stakeholders to discuss procedure for registration of BT cotton and environmental protection concerns, national integrated pest management (IPM) programme and selecting cotton varieties for NCVT.
He said according to the Central Cotton Research Institute CCRI, the procedure was being devised to ensure that the sowing of BT cotton should not cause environmental hazards.
Mr Rabbani said the member parliamentary standing committee on food, agriculture and livestock, Dr Rozina Tufail recently told during a three-day meeting of agriculture research committee of Pakistan Central Cotton Committee (PCCC), that state-owned research institutes and private business entities would be able to file applications with the ministry of environment to seek approval for BT cotton under the rules. Mr Rabbani said once the rules are finalised, companies and public sector research organisations would be able to move their cases under this formula to the environment ministry before they could market their versions of BT cotton.
He said this variety was first introduced in Australia, then it came to India, where Dupont got rights and allocated Rs 23 million for research and development to make this variety environment friendly. He said India’s cotton variety, Shanker 6 was the outcome of the research, a division of Bayer Pharmaceutical, and Germany also got rights for Fibre Max variety of cotton.
According to an official Dr Qadir Bakhsh Baloch the ministry of food, agriculture and livestock was allocating Rs 4-5 billion to set up a fund for research in agriculture and livestock sectors. BT cotton having greater resistance value against virus is being cultivated in many parts of cotton sowing areas in Sindh including Sujawal and Tando Adam, and Dera Ghazi Khan, Dunyapur and areas adjoining river belts in Punjab as this variety needs large quantity of water.