14 August 2012, 10:17 BST
An existing license for Monsanto genetically engineered cotton seeds has been revoked in the Indian state of Maharashtra amid an investigation into farmer suicides, reports Environment News Service (ENS).
The cancellation affects 28 Indian seeds companies that have been selling 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 rate among Maharashtra farmers that have been planting the seeds. Some have suggested the high cost of the seeds, which have failed to repeal 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 sicne June 2005.
Across India, more than 250,000 suicides took their own lives between 1995 and 2010.
India has taken a more skeptical view of GMO crops this year. In late June, the country 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: