AS the illegal sale of genetically-modified cotton seeds, Bollgard 3, continues unabated in Telangana, agriculture officials are gearing up to check such sale by undertaking inspections in the next harvest season (around May).The checks will be conducted across the state.In Vikarabad a meeting was convened recently by former collector (now transferred to Adilabad) where she asked agriculture officials to ensure that the sale of GM cotton seeds in the district be stopped by May next.
“Teams consisting of officials from 18 mandals in the district, including the assistant director of agriculture, will be formed to carry out inspections. We will ensure that the sale of these seeds in Vikarbad is brought to an end by the next harvest season,” said district agriculture officer Gopal. Rythu Samanvaya Samithi volunteers can also play a role in this mission, he added.
The herbicide-tolerant seed is being used in about 25 per cent of the cotton-sowing area in the state and was first heard of in 2008. Illegal sale of the seed is also widespread in Maharashtra, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh.District agriculture officer A Vivek said, “The sale of GM cotton seeds has been widespread in the district for years but it has been brought down with our constant efforts to make the farmers aware about the ill effects of the seed and by discouraging them from buying it. We have asked the police to be alert to the activities of dealers who package these seeds.”
Vikarabad agriculture officials said the production of cotton in the district is marginal and Bollgard 3 is not used for cultivation there. In Mahbubnagar, after the arrest of two dealers for illegal sale of Bollgard 3, no further steps have been taken. Agricultural scientist GV Ramanjaneyulu, when asked about regulatory steps, said, “The government should immediately track the firms which are producing and selling these seeds.”