Amid uncertainties of cotton cultivation, farmers hedge on illegal seeds

Yavatmal: Despite a stricter vigil this year, the illegal herbicide tolerant (HT) cotton seeds continue to be available in Vidarbha. The genetically modified HT seeds can survive highly toxic weed killing chemicals, which are sprayed to keep farms clear of weeds and help cotton plants grow. Developed by US biotech giant Monsanto, the seeds cannot be sold legally in India yet, but are available in the grey market.
Yavatmal agriculture department claims to have conducted the highest number of raids to detect and seize these illegal seeds. The seeds are reportedly smuggled from Gujarat, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh into Maharashtra.