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Thursday, December 23, 2004

Unapproved seeds on the market

The easy availability of Bt Cotton seeds without consent from the government is making a mockery of the regulatory environment. The Union agriculture ministry, on becoming aware of the illegal sales of unapproved Bt cotton seeds, has directed state governments to strictly enforce the provisions of Seeds Control Order, 1983 to deal with the situation. The illegal sale of unapproved Bt cotton has spread to Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan where sowing of cotton in the current season has begun. The MS Swaminathan panel on application of biotechnology in agriculture in its report has also noted "highlighted by mushrooming of illegal varieties of Bt cotton seeds in Gujarat, which is reported to have spread to Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab as well."
It is not yet clear what the sources of the unapproved Bt cotton seeds are. There are reports about the sale of unapproved Bt cotton seeds allegedly produced by Nav Bharat Seeds. Some farmers also suspect the leakage of Bt cotton seeds of Mahyco-Monsanto which was developed for cultivation in north India, and was rejected last year as it was found susceptible to the dangerous leaf curl virus. However, sources in Mahyco-Monsanto Biotech Company and in the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry said "such reports are baseless."
"Agriculture department officials turn a Nelson's eye to this unscrupulous sale and in most cases they are hand in glove with the fly-by-night operators." No Bt cotton seeds has yet been approved for commercial cultivation in north India, including Punjab. The leaders of Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) said that this craze of Bt cotton among farmers in north India is due to the hype generated by Mahyco Monsanto Biotech Company that its cultivation reduces bollworm attack by 58 per cent, increases yield by 24 per cent and results in a net profit of Rs 7,276 per acre.
BKU leader Jagmohan told FE, "influenced by the large scale publicity about the success of Bt cotton, the farmers are not even hesitant to pay Rs 400 to Rs 500 for a purported pack of 400 gm of Bt cotton seeds. They hardly get what they are paying for as most of the packing is done in the neighbouring Haryana with some unspecified varieties of seeds. The demand for illegal Bt cotton seeds has also spread to Rajasthan." He further said "in some cases, sowing of cotton with such varieties costs the growers Rs 2000 an acre, but the agriculture department officials turned a Nelson eye to this unscrupulous sale and in most cases they are hand in glove with the fly-by-night operators."
The Union government in letters to the state governments has requested "to ensure that dealers should claim on the label for quality of seeds with regard to the presence and absence of Bt gene in cotton to be sold in the market under section 13 (1) (a) and (c) of the Seeds Control Order, 1983. To verify the presence of Bt gene in cotton, the Government of India notified the laboratory of Central Institute for Cotton Research (CICR) at Nagpur as the central seed testing laboratory. The Government of India is also providing funds to train the officials who are working in the laboratory so as to test for the presence of Bt gene in cotton."
The monitoring committee of the Union environment ministry has recommended: "for verification of Bt cotton seed production, the company should inform the agriculture department of the concerned state regarding the location, area and estimated quantity of seed production. The quantity of seed produced should be further verified at the processing plant by the Seed Inspector."
The committee further said that the company should provide details of all its seed dealers and advance notices of delivery to the agriculture departments of the concerned state. Out of the total distribution, 0.1 per cent should be checked on random sample basis.
For evaluating the performance of Bt cotton, the committee suggested monitoring of 10 per cent of the total Bt cotton fields on a random sample basis as per guidelines developed by CICR. The period of field assessment in each state should be decided taking into consideration the varying agro-climatic conditions and also be classified into irrigated, unirrigated and drought prone areas. Bt cotton fields should be monitored three times - during flowering stage, square formation stage and at the time first plucking. Details of pest incidence, number of sprays of pesticides till 50 per cent of boll bursting stage, yield, agronomic practices should also be assessed.
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Seeds market report

The monsoon during July – September in Gujarat/Southern Rajasthan was outstanding, a very promising sign for the heavily irrigated, pysillium crop, which is planted end-November – December. However, the cool weather necessary for a good planting has been replaced presently by a much warmer climate, and our supplier anticipates a reduction in planting of about 25%, with a crop projection of 900 to 925 lots.

The carryover into the new season of about 300 lots will enable the total availability to satisfy global demand of perhaps 1000 to 1200 lots, but the supply-demand ratio is so close to 1 that sharp price fluctuations may occur if demand surges or arrivals slow at any time.

Prices for seeds and husks have declined to three year lows after the excellent monsoon, but the history of the Psyllium market warns us that “if it’s too good to be true…then it may indeed be too good to be true.” With the strong rupee against the dollar and strong prosperity in the Indian economy increasing marginal labor costs, there are basic upward tendencies that complement the effects of sharp trading in the seeds.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Report: Import and Export market for cotton seeds in China

I found a new study about the Import and Export market for cotton seeds in China.
On the demand side, exporters and strategic planners focusing on cotton seeds in China face a number of questions. Which countries are supplying cotton seeds to China?
How important is China compared to others in terms of the entire global and regional market? How much do the imports of cotton seeds vary from one country of origin to another in China?
On the supply side, China also exports cotton seeds. Which countries receive the most exports from China? How are these exports concentrated across buyers? What is the value of these exports and which countries are the largest buyers?
This report was created for strategic planners, international marketing executives and import/export managers who are concerned with the market for cotton seeds in China.
With the globalization of this market, managers can no longer be content with a local view. Nor can managers be content with out-of-date statistics, which appear several years after the fact. Icon Group has developed a proprietary methodology, based on macroeconomic and trade models, to estimate the market for cotton seeds for those countries serving China via exports, or supplying from China via imports. It does so for the current year based on a variety of key historical indicators and econometric models.

Flower seeds to grow the fastest overall

Import for other seeds eincluding vegetable, flower, grass and forage, fruit, tree and novelty seeds will expand 4.3 percent per year through 2007 to $2.5 billion. Grass and flower seeds are expected to provide the best opportunities for gains in this product segment and be among the fastest growing overall.
Seed development and new end use applications (e.g., biopharmaceuticals, bioplastics and biofuels) will support healthy demand growth, as will continued expansion of golf course acres in the US. Flower seeds export will benefit from the introduction of higher value, novel seeds; development of new end-use applications (e.g., nutrition enhancers); and strong growth in consumer flower gardening expenditures.
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US import of seed will reach $8.5 billion in 2007

Demand for import of seeds in the US is forecast to increase nearly 4.0 percent per year through 2007 to $8.5 billion, with volume reaching more than 17 billion pounds. Value demand will continue to be driven by the introduction of more expensive hybrid and transgenic seeds. Positive factors include trends towards narrow planting rows, expanding consumer lawn and garden expenditures, new end-use applications of field crops and flowers, and continued growth in the number of golf course acres.