Punjab Agricultural University in Ludhiana has announced that it has developed the country’s first genetically-modified varieties of cotton — the seeds of which could be reused by farmers with no commercial restrictions, resulting in savings on repeat purchases every season.
“The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has identified three Bt cotton varieties – PAU Bt 1, F1861 and RS2013 – for cultivation in Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan. They [ICAR] have asked us to put up a proposal on release of these varieties,” PAU Vice-Chancellor Baldev Singh Dhillon told The Hindu.
Dr. Dhillon said the notification on these varieties could be out by next month after ICAR’s scheduled meeting, and the process of multiplying the seeds would, meanwhile, start. “We expect that by next year we will be able to distribute a few seeds to farmers for sowing. In the subsequent year, we will distribute seeds on a large scale,” he said.