Bollgard II Roundup Ready Flex – Monsanto’s next-gen cotton technology

Monsanto: image

  • St Louis, US-based seed technology company.
  • World’s leading producer of the herbicide glyphosate, marketed in the Roundup brand, and in other brands. 
  • 2nd largest producer of Genetically Engineered (GE) seed; it provides the technology in 49% of the genetically engineered seeds used in the US market.

 

Almost 10 years after it brought in the second generation Bollgard-II technology that furnished twin protection to the cotton plants, Monsanto is all set to roll out BOLLGARD II Roundup Ready Flex technology for cotton in 2013. This third generation biotechnology product would offer protection against weeds, besides continuing protection against insects.

Bollgard II Roundup Ready Flex (BGII RRF) would provide protection against weeds, besides extending protection against insects.

Roundup-Ready Flex (RRF): The new technology is called the RRF technology which will provide the plant the internal strength to withstand herbicides. While other weeds around the plant die after application of herbicide, those with this technology will live on.

Monsanto’s controversial history in India

Monsanto India Limited (MIL): A subsidiary of the Monsanto Company, USA.

Monsanto has had a controversial history in India.

  • Usage of Terminator genes: Monsanto has been accused of using terminator genes in its seeds, causing demonstrations against the company in India.
  • Higher Cost: Monsanto’s GM cotton seed was the subject of NGO agitation because of its higher cost. In 2009, high prices of Bt Cotton were accused for pushing farmers of the district Jhabua into severe debts when the crops went bad due to deficiency of rain.
  • Child labor: A subsidiary of Monsanto is alleged to employ child labor in the manufacture of cotton-seeds in India.
  • Farmer suicides: A short documentary by Frontline (U.S. TV series) suggested that farmers using genetically modified seeds promoted by Cargill and Monsanto have led to rising debts and forced them to commit suicides.
  • Seed Piracy: Indian farmers cross GM varieties with local varieties using plant breeding to yield better strains, an illegal practice termed "seed piracy".
  • Bio Piracy: In February 2012, European and Indian activists started opposing a patent on virus resistant traits of indigenous melon varieties in India which was awarded to Monsanto. The activists lay claim it was not an innovation of Monsanto but instead bio-piracy. Employing conventional breeding techniques, certain virus resistance was carried out from an Indian melon to other melons. European law forbids patents on conventional breeding, in this case, traits on indigenous Indian melons. The activists lay claim it is bio-piracy since the plants originated in India and were registered in international seed-banks.

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