India Cancels GMO Cotton License

The Indian state of Maharashtra has revoked Monsanto’s license to sell genetically engineered cotton seeds while it investigates farmer suicides, reports Environment News Service (ENS).

The cancellation affects 28 Indian seed companies thatsell  cotton seeds using technology from Mahyco Monsanto Biotech, a joint venture of Mahayco and Monsanto Holdings Pvt.

"We have given fair chance to the company and all charges of unfair trade practice have been proved," says Sudam Adsule, the director of inputs and quality control for Maharashtra, India’s biggest industrial region, in the ENS article. "Hence, under the existing cotton seed act, we have taken action and it can’t be revoked."

The move comes amid an investigation into the rising suicide rates among Maharashtra farmers that have been planting the seeds. Some have suggested the high cost of the seeds, which have failed to repell cotton pests as promised, and the debt incurred by farmers as a result has been a contributor to more than 8,200 suicides in the past decade in the Vidarbah region of the Indian state.

Kishore Tiwari with the farmer advocacy group Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti told ENS: "Bt cotton seed has played a key role in the Vidarbha farm suicide saga since June 2005.

Across India, more than 250,000 people took their lives between 1995 and 2010.

In late June, India joined Russia, China, Brazil, and 49 major industrialized nations in requiring GMO labeling.  So far, 50 countries either restrict or ban the use or cultivation of GMOs outright.

For the full ENS article:

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