The government will introduce genetically modified (GM) cotton in 2016 to increase production of Bangladesh's key raw material for textiles, Agriculture Minister Matia Chowdhury said yesterday.
“The GM cotton is already available in the world. So, we do not need to generate new variety. We have already got clearance certificate from the environment ministry,” she told a seminar.
The International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA) and Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council (BARC) organised the seminar, “Global perspective of Biotech/GM crops and its contribution to food security and poverty alleviation”, in the latter's auditorium in the capital.
GM cotton, already introduced in China, South Africa and India, is said to have strong immunity against pests, better productivity and greater fibre elasticity.
Bangladesh yearly produces only 150,000 bales of the second biggest cash crop after jute meeting only three percent of its textiles industry's demand for about 4.5 million bales, resulting in heavy reliance on imports.
The government never allows any initiative harmful for farmers and mass people while environment and public health safety are always considered, she said. ISAAA Chairman Clive James and Indian agricultural scientist Bhagirath Choudhury also spoke.