After Bt cotton, Monsanto may try hands on pulses, wheat

After Bt cotton, Monsanto may try hands on pulses, wheat


New Delhi: World’s largest’s business strategy for India is not just confined to genetically modified cotton as the biotech major is also open to look at key grains such as wheat and pulses.

“Monsanto is willing to partner with public research institutes to develop technology for crops of importance to India," Raj Ketkar, deputy managing director, Mahyco Monsanto Biotech Ltd (MMBL) said in an interview to PTI.

MMBL is an equal joint venture between U.S-based Monsanto and local firm Maharashtra Hybrid Seed Company (Mahyco). Monsanto introduced Bt cotton in India in 2002.

He said the company is already working on fruits segment, especially papaya. “We recently signed a pact with Tamil Nadu Agriculture University and have given them a royalty-free license of genetically modified papaya," he added.

On other crops like pulses and wheat, which India is importing to meet domestic requirements, he said: “We are willing to study on these crops too."

However, Ketkar explained that research and development (R&D) on these crops would take years to complete because their yield complexities, diseases, climatic conditions and other parameters differ from country to country.

“The technology we develop for US cannot be dumped in India. Even Bt cotton was not developed overnight. Monsanto took a good number of years before commercializing it (in India)," he said.

“After we accomplish the lined-up projects, we would identify others," he said, adding research on vegetables, corn, soyabean and cotton is still going on.