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Changing the Cotton Landscape in Pakistan - Forrester - 2009

Changing the Cotton Landscape in Pakistan - Forrester - 2009

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Published by Ahsan 11
Dr. Neil Forrester is an expert on cotton production and management. He recently visited Pakistan on an invitation from Ali Tareen Farms. This report is an outcome of Dr. Forrester's intensive engagement with a range of stakeholders and field visits. In his report, Dr. Forrester identifies the major constraints on cotton production in Pakistan and provides his recommendations in each case.
Dr. Neil Forrester is an expert on cotton production and management. He recently visited Pakistan on an invitation from Ali Tareen Farms. This report is an outcome of Dr. Forrester's intensive engagement with a range of stakeholders and field visits. In his report, Dr. Forrester identifies the major constraints on cotton production in Pakistan and provides his recommendations in each case.

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Changing the Cotton Landscape in Pakistan

Dr. Neil Forrester

October 2008

Ali Tareen Farms, Pakistan



Copyright © 2009 Ali Tareen Farms Permission is granted for copying and distribution after due acknowledgement.




The importance of improving cotton production for cotton growers, the textile industry and other members of the cotton value chain in Pakistan can hardly be overstated. Considering its role in the national economy, it is surprising how little the public and the private sector in Pakistan has invested in cotton research and development (R&D) during the last few decades. The public sector’s large infrastructure of research institutes and agricultural universities suffers from the endemic problems of lack of resources and poor management. It has been unable to keep pace with the latest discoveries in production and crop management. Consequently, Pakistan’s per acre yield continues to remain below the world average. It grows cotton on 3.2 million hectares, yet the total production has fluctuated around a meager 12 million (170 kg) bales during the last decade, leaving a shortfall of 2-3 million in domestic consumption every year. This places a heavy burden on cotton growers and the textile industry – the two most important members in the value chain – to come forward and fill this gap in cotton R&D. This research is one small contribution towards this objective. Dr. Neil Forrester is a leading international expert on cotton production, who has kept himself abreast of the latest developments in cotton biotechnology and other innovations. His familiarity with Pakistani cotton landscape enabled him to produce a valuable report within the short time period of two weeks. This research serves two important functions. First, it helps cotton farmers to better understand the disease and pest complex they face each year. Second, it constitutes the starting point for further in-depth research on the constraints identified in this report. Hopefully, other progressive growers and the textile industry will take this work from here and invest in rigorous and scientific investigation of the problems that have so far condemned Pakistan farmers to a below average performance.

Jahangir Khan Tareen



Table of Contents

Page Acronyms Introduction Major constraints on Cotton Production in Pakistan Cotton leaf curl virus Mealybugs Lack of a professional seed industry Weeds High input costs and water scarcity Bollworms Research Future Pipeline Technologies Insecticide Resistance Management Sources for Germplasm and Public Sector Technologies Summary of Recommendations Appendix A: Terms of Reference Appendix B: Stakeholders Engaged for this Study viii 1 1 6 10 15 20 23 24 29 29 30 35 36 37 40




Ayub Agricultural Research Institute All Pakistan Textile Mills Association Commonwealth Agricultural Bureaux International Centre for Applied Molecular Biology Central Cotton Research Institute Cotton Leaf Curl Virus Cotton Research and Development Company Cotton Research Institute Environmental Protection Agency Herbicide Resistance Action Committee International Cotton Advisory Committee Intellectual Property Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock Nuclear Institute of Agricultural Biology National Institute of Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering Punjab Agricultural Research Board Pakistan Agricultural Research Council Water Use Efficiency




This report is based on the research conducted in Pakistan during October 2008 to review the current production constraints and problems in the Pakistan cotton industry and to recommend possible solutions. All aspects and stakeholders of the Pakistan cotton industry were covered including a range of both provincial and federal government officials, private seed companies, multinational businesses, research and breeding facilities, textile and ginning industry representatives and cotton growers. Site visits to cotton fields and research institutes were undertaken in Lahore, Multan, Lodhran, Vehari, Karachi, Islamabad and Faisalabad. The terms of reference for this study are attached as Appendix A. The list of persons interviewed is attached as Appendix B. The main body of this report will cover the key problems affecting the Pakistan cotton industry and will suggest ways for the Pakistan cotton industry to overcome them to become a vibrant, forward looking, productive and globally competitive industry. The specific technical issues covered are: 1) resistance management of Bt cotton; 2) sources for available transgenic technologies; 3) suitability of Chinese Bt cottons; 4) sources of public-good biotechnology; 5) sources of cotton germplasm; 6) control of CLCV and mealybug; and 7) possible new research and development (R&D) structures. These will be addressed at the end of this report. A detailed presentation of the findings from this research was given in Lahore to a broad cross section of participants. This meeting was organized and hosted by the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) whose support and encouragement for this review is acknowledged. A final summary presentation was also given to the federal Finance Minister and the federal Minister for MINFAL (Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock) in Islamabad.


Major Constraints on Cotton Production in Pakistan

The principal problem of the Pakistan cotton industry is a shortfall in production of cotton lint versus consumption. Production is variable from year to year at 12 million bales (170 kg) or less while consumption is at 15 million bales. This leaves a shortfall of around 3 million bales of cotton lint which has to be imported each year to satisfy the demand of the Pakistan spinning industry. The cost of these raw cotton imports and the oil and meal forgone if the cotton could have been grown in Pakistan, is around US $ 0.8-1.0 billion per year.

Yield (kgs/ha)
10.0 12.0 14.0 16.0 18.0 0.0 2.0 4.0 6.0 8.0

Area (,000 ha)
1,500 2,000 2,500 3,000 3,500

Millions of Bales (170 kgs)



1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007





Data Source: ICAC Cotton Statistics

Data Source: ICAC Cotton Statistics
Production Mill use












Pakistan Emerging as Importer







Area & Yield of Cotton in Pakistan for the past 28 years












The figure above represents the area of cotton grown in Pakistan over the last 3 decades and the average yield. Over this time, the area has increased steadily from just over 2 million hectares to just over 3 million hectares but yield has stagnated. Every time the yield has threatened to increase (e.g. the early nineties and 2004), some disaster has befallen the industry (e.g. CLCV, mealybugs, etc). The increase in production in Pakistan over time has been driven by increased area planted, not so much by any increase in productivity. The industry is in a 25 year time warp. The current average cotton yield in Pakistan is 18 maunds (1 maund = 37.32 kg) of seed cotton per acre which would produce 11.7 million (170 kg) bales on 3.2 million hectares. In order to meet current mill demand, the yield would need to increase by 30% to 23.4 maunds average which would produce 15.2 million bales. This is an extra 3.5 million bales of cotton production which would put an extra US$ 0.9-1.1 billion per year into the pockets of Pakistan cotton farmers, not overseas cotton farmers. Now pushing the concept of potential yield increases a little further, what if yield can be increased 67% to 30 maunds average which would produce 19.5 million bales. This is an extra 7.8 million bales of cotton production which would give Pakistani cotton farmers an extra US$ 22.5 billion per year. The extra production over current mill demand would go to either export of excess lint or increased mill demand, probably a combination of both. Assuming that all could be value added in the local textile industry, the increased textile production would be worth an extra US$ 3 billion per year, over and above the extra US$ 2-2.5b/yr for the lint mentioned above. These are certainly impressive numbers but are they realistically achievable? I believe so. Firstly, this is already the set target for the Cotton Vision 2015 Project (20m bales by 2015) and secondly, the Indian cotton industry has already achieved this level of improvement.


India Emerging as Exporter

Mill use



Millions of bales (170 kgs)






0.0 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007

Data Source: ICAC Cotton Statistics

Bt introduction

The figure above demonstrates the profound changes in the Indian cotton industry since the introduction of Bt cotton. Prior to the introduction of Bt cotton in India in 2003, India had the world’s lowest average yield (302 kg lint/ha in 2002) and was importing cotton lint to meet mill demand. Within 5 years, average yield had increased 88% to 567 kg lint/ha 1 and India is now the world’s second biggest cotton exporter. So the potential 67% yield increase mentioned for Pakistan is not unrealistic. However, India’s yield constraints were different to Pakistan’s. Number one problem was Bollworm control which was addressed immediately by the introduction of Bt cotton. Other problems were (and still are) erratic monsoon rains (to be addressed by the introduction of future drought tolerant cotton?), weeds, particularly in the northern irrigated crop (to be addressed by the introduction of herbicide tolerant cottons) and CLCV (Cotton Leaf Curl Virus) but only in the north (0.5m out of a total of 9m ha).


ICAC Cotton Statistics.


Pakistan has a different set of problems. Number one problem is CLCV which first arose in the early nineties and which was solved by the breeding of CLCV resistant varieties. However, this early success was short lived with the development of a recombinant mutant strain of the virus (called Burewala strain after the village where it was first discovered) which overcame all previously resistant varieties and even to date, there are no known cotton varieties resistant to this new strain despite extensive testing of global germplasm collections. Until this problem is solved, any benefits to be potentially gained from solving the other problems (including the introduction of Bt cotton) will not be fully realized. The second major problem for the Pakistan cotton industry is the lack of a professional seed industry resulting in poor quality seed (poor germination and lack of genetic purity) to the farmer. Investing in new transgenic technologies will not produce results if these cannot be delivered to farmers in a consistently high quality seed, which in turn cannot be achieved without a professional seed industry. The third major problem for the Pakistan cotton industry has been mealybugs. These have arisen as a key pest in just a matter of a couple of seasons and there is no clear understanding why this is so or what will happen to their pest status in the future. The fourth major problem for the Pakistan cotton industry is the high input cost (principally diesel and fertilizer) which is a common problem for farmers around the globe. The fifth major problem for the Pakistan cotton industry is lack of water, although it is unclear whether the problem is scarcity of water or its distribution. Weeds are also a major problem for Pakistan cotton farmers although they are hardly mentioned by most people, presumably because it is just accepted that weeds are a problem about which little can be done. Last but not least, bollworms and armyworms have been a consistent problem for Pakistan cotton farmers with some years being much worse than others. The solution to bollworms is relatively simple (the introduction of transgenic Bt cottons) but as stated previously and which cannot be emphasized enough, the full potential of Bt cotton will not be realized until all the other problems are solved as well. There are no clear data on the economic impact of these various problems mentioned above but I will attempt below to estimate the cost of these problems to the Pakistan cotton growers. Problem CLCV No professional seed industry Mealybugs Water Weeds Estimated yield losses (170 kg bales lint) 2-3 m 2-3 m 1m 1m 2m


The total yield losses are somewhere in the range of 8-10 million bales. On top of that, improved crop management techniques could add an extra 2-3 million bales, making a grand total of an extra 10-13 million bales per year, if all of Pakistan’s cotton production problems could be solved. This figure is double the current production and would be worth an extra US$ 2.74.1b/year in extra lint, oil and meal yield. The extra lint production over the current mill requirement could be met either by exports or increased mill use or both (as was the case with India) with the value adding figure if it all went to increased textile production being another US$ 4.7-6.7b/year. These figures would represent a very significant improvement in Pakistan’s national economic position if the Pakistan cotton industry can be turned around and revitalised. In addition, there is a developing decline in US cotton production due to the competition from biofuel crops and the US cotton production may end up moving off shore as has the US cotton processing industry. If this happens, it will open up a great opportunity for other cotton producing countries to meet this potential shortfall in the US cotton exports and Pakistan should ensure that it can be one of those countries along with India, Africa, Brazil and the cotton growing countries of the CIS. Now to deal with the major cotton problems in detail. 2.1 Cotton Leaf Curl Virus

This problem has been in Pakistan for a very long time, probably as long as cotton has been grown in the region. The local cotton species Gossypium arboreum has developed a natural resistance to CLCV but the introduced commercial cotton species Gossypium hirsutum is mostly naturally susceptible to CLCV as it evolved elsewhere. The introduction of the smooth leaf highly virus susceptible S12 variety in the late 80s, saw an increase in spraying for jassids initially, then for bollworms induced by the jassid sprays which in turn induced a whitefly problem.

Whitefly vector of CLCV Left – adults & nymphs (scales) Right – adults & eggs


As whitefly is the vector for CLCV and there was a large area of the highly CLCV susceptible S12 variety being grown, the conditions were ripe for the first CLCV epizootic. This severely affected Pakistan cotton production in the early 90s and the problem was eventually solved by the breeding of conventional CLCV resistant varieties by a number of local Pakistan breeding institutes. However, later research indicated that there were only three sources of CLCV resistance discovered (LRA 5166, CP 15/2 and Cedex) and that the first two were actually the same, so effectively there were only two sources. As the CLCV problem declined in severity, the industry ended up growing a mixture of CLCV resistant and tolerant varieties which allowed a residual CLCV population to flourish. Additionally, this allowed the virus to recombine and mutate to a different form, and in this case unfortunately, to a more virulent form called the Burewala strain. This new mutant strain overcame all previously known sources of conventional host plant resistance and is still spreading gradually from its original source at Burewala near Vehari throughout the Pakistani Punjab and even into the Indian Punjab. Pakistani cotton breeders have been assiduously screening germplasm from around the world to try to identify a source (or hopefully sources) of resistance to this new CLCV strain but have so far been unsuccessful, despite screening over 12,000 lines at the Vehari Cotton Research Station near the virus epicentre. The solution to the CLCV problem must come from research and as the CLCV problem is restricted to Pakistan and the Indian Punjab, this will have to rely largely on a local regional solution. Clearly help will also be required from external virus research institutes such as the US Danforth Institute but most of the effort will have to come from local research institutes to solve a local problem. The eventual solution will come from either conventional breeding, mutation breeding such as carried out at the Nuclear Institute of Agricultural Biology (NIAB), interspecific crosses from resistant but commercially distant wild cottons (such as carried out at the Central Cotton Research Institute (CCRI) and the Ayub Agricultural Research Institute (AARI)) or transgenic (genetically modified) approaches such as carried out at the National Institute of Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering (NIBGE). All these 4 approaches should be funded as a priority and when a solution is eventually found, a country wide cotton crop management strategy should be concurrently implemented to ensure the maximum durability of the new solution e.g. quit growing CLCV susceptible varieties as quickly as possible to reduce the virus inoculum level and thus reduce the potential for virus recombination and mutation, as happened previously.


CLCV susceptible variety in the Indian Punjab

However, it could be some time before a successful solution is found and in the meantime there should be a concerted extension campaign to mitigate the economic impact of CLCV. This should be planned on two fronts; one to reduce the whitefly vector population and another to reduce the CLCV inoculum level. In regards to the latter, CLCV can only exist in a live host so all cotton plant sticks should be removed immediately after harvesting is finished and in particular, all cotton crops abandoned due to severe CLCV should be uprooted as soon as possible. Whitefly populations on weeds and crops should be managed early season with soft, non-disruptive chemicals (e.g. mineral oils, buprofezin and pyriproxyfen) and all hard spray options should be delayed as long as possible. Early season sunflowers are excellent whitefly nurseries and should be avoided at all costs in cotton areas.


CLCV damage – Multan district Aug 2006

Some growers have tried to avoid the CLCV problem by planting earlier and earlier, some even as early as February or March. They then treat this crop as a high input 300 day crop and aim to maximize yield from the cotton crop as a rotation with wheat is no longer possible. Many larger farmers have tried this approach with some success but in the long term, I can foresee lots of problems if this trend is continued. The most important problem being encountered is the problem of Bronze Wilt (also called Sudden Wilt or Reddening in Pakistan) which is a physiological disorder caused by trying to fill bolls during the hottest part of the season. The optimum temperatures for cotton are 35 degrees Centigrade during the day and 26 degrees Centigrade at night. February/March planted cotton will be fully loaded up with fruit and at the boll-fill stage when the extremely hot May/June temperatures come (45 degrees during the day and 35 degrees during the night being not uncommon). This is a physiological impossibility for the cotton plant which then goes a red/bronze colour, wilts and sheds it fruit. It can recover later and grow a good second crop during milder conditions. This is a bigger problem in the hotter areas of the Punjab with the northern Punjab crops faring better (and thus yielding better) because of the milder temperatures in the north. However, the growing of 300 day cotton is not a sustainable proposition. It uses a lot of extra inputs (especially fertilizer and number of irrigations) and requires pest control (especially whitefly control) for a long period, creating a pesticide resistance risk and fosters CLCV inoculum buildup for a large part of the season. Also, the level of Bt cotton efficacy would be questionable during the latter half of the crop as Bt efficacy usually begins to decline after 100 days or so. All in all, I see very early planting


(Feb/March) of part of their cotton crop to avoid CLCV, as continuing to be a popular option for some growers (particularly in the milder parts of the Punjab). But, I stress, this should not be promoted as a solution to the CLCV problem. It should be considered only as a short term risk spreading strategy until a longer term CLCV solution is found. Mid to late May plantings are probably the best compromise to minimize CLCV risk and to avoid boll filling in adversely hot weather. 2.2 Mealybugs

Mealybugs are generally considered as a curiosity on cotton and rarely need controlling. Thus the mealybug explosion in Pakistan cotton from 2005 to 2007 came as a surprise to everyone in the industry. It seemed to come from nowhere, peaked in 2007 and there is some evidence that the problem may be now declining in importance. There are a couple of different theories as to why this happened. The first is that this is an introduced virulent new pest species but if this is the case, then it is very hard to explain how it could have become a pest across the whole Pakistan cotton belt almost simultaneously. Its damage would have been traceable over time from its point of introduction but there is no evidence of this. Mealybug females can only disperse by crawling or being moved on infested plants or produce (only the males can fly), so dispersal of mealybugs across the Pakistan cotton belt would have been a very slow process and this does not fit with the massive population explosion observed over just a two year period.

Close up of mealybugs

Mealybugs can prematurely kill cotton plants


What is more probable is that the mealybug was already spread throughout the Pakistan cotton belt but that it was at such low levels that it was hardly ever noticed, and then some sort of event triggered the population explosion. In regards to the first part of this theory, a recently published paper 2 suggests that the mealybug was first introduced into Karachi in 1974 and then spread slowly north. By 1988, it was recorded throughout the cotton growing areas of the Sindh province. It then continued to spread slowly and gradually north into the Punjab province where it was recorded in 11 cotton growing districts in 2005. The original 1974 identification was the Hibiscus mealybug Phenacoccus (= Maconellicoccus) hirsutum which has not recently been found in Pakistan. The cotton mealybug is similar to but different to Hibiscus mealybug and is considered a new species Maconellicoccus sp. nov. Yousuf et al. (2007) probably very rightly conclude that the original 1974 identification was incorrect and that the new introduction all along was the cotton mealybug, not the Hibiscus mealybug. If this is correct, it explains the broad distribution of the cotton mealybug throughout the Pakistan cotton belt (albeit at low numbers) but not the trigger that set off the mealybug population explosion. There are a couple of theories on the putative trigger which could have set off the mealybug population explosion. If the mealybug had been present previously throughout the cotton belt for many years, then something clearly different must have happened prior to the start of the population explosion in 2005. Some people suggest an environmental trigger such as high temperatures or high humidity which would favour the mealybug, while another theory is that the population explosion was induced by intensive spraying for other pests which disrupted the natural balance between the mealybug and its natural enemies (various parasites and predators), perhaps even more likely, a combination of both factors. There needs to be research on these potential triggers to sort out what happened just prior to 2005. If these factors can be identified, then steps can be taken to predict future mealybug outbreaks to either avoid them if possible or at least mitigate their economic impact. In this regard, the following data was obtained to help with identifying potential mealybug population explosion triggers, specifically: 1) broad-scale spraying of armyworms, etc. with hard insecticides in 2003; and 2) unusually warm and humid weather from 2005 to 2007. A third possible trigger (the wide scale early spring spraying campaign against whitefly in 2003) was discounted as a possible trigger as the soft insecticide buprofezin was largely used in that campaign but if any broad spectrum insecticides were used in that campaign, then this could have also contributed to the mealybug outbreak..

Yousuf et al. 2007, Pakistan Entomologist Vol 29(1):49-50


The following table presents data on the average daily maximum and minimum temperatures (in ºC) and relative humidity and total rainfall for spring to autumn (Feb-Oct) for the years 2000 to 2007 at Multan CCRI. Numbers in bold in the table below are the years where the season average is above the 2000-2007 long term average.

Spring to Autumn (Feb-Oct) Av. daily max temp ºC Av. daily min temp ºC Av. Daily 8 am relative humidity Av. Daily 5 pm relative humidity Total rainfall (mm)









Av. 20002007 33.9 22.3 70.4

34.8 22.3 67.0

34.3 22.2 69.5

34.5 22.4 68.1

33.5 21.9 68.4

34.3 22.5 68.9

32.6 21.9 71.6

34.4 23.2 72.1

33.5 22.4 74.3



















Source: Dr. Naveed, CCRI Multan, Pakistan.

The following table presents date on the average number of insecticide sprays applied on cotton in Pakistan in the years 2000 to 2007.

2000 4.8

2001 5.7

2002 4.8

2003 7.0

2004 5.7

2005 5.3

2006 5.6

2007 5.4

Source: Directorate of Pest Warning and Quality Control of Pesticides, Multan, Punjab.


Mealybugs attended by ants and on brinjal (egg plant)

The 2003 cotton season was marked by heavy mid-late season rains and an expansive armyworm outbreak in cotton which was controlled with indiscriminate use of insecticides, particularly when supplies ran out and growers had to resort to broad spectrum insecticides such as the organophosphates. In fact the 2003 season had the heaviest spray pressure in the last eight years. The theory is that this broad-scale spraying in 2003 killed the mealybug natural enemies which had been holding the mealybug populations in check previously. This would then have allowed the mealybug populations to increase unchecked in the following years, maybe assisted by favourable weather conditions. In fact, the weather data for the 2005-2007 outbreak period indicates very favourable humid weather (see table above) for the mealybug but no clear temperature trigger. If this theory is correct, then ultimately, the natural enemies would be able to build back up and once again assert their control over the mealybug population. In fact, the reduced mealybug problem in 2008 may be the start of the redressing of the natural balance of things. There appears to be some evidence for this from data for late season mealybug collections taken from cotton in October 2008. These were made by independent research entomologist Dr. David Chamberlain, Crop Protection & Research Consultant, JDW Sugar Mills, Rahim Yar Khan, Pakistan who made two collections of mealybugs off cotton from the lower Punjab (Lodhran and Rahim Yar Khan) and recorded very high levels of parasitism by an encyrtid 3 wasp (94.2 and

* Parasitoid specimens collected by CABI South Asia from Maconellicoccus sp. attacking cotton in Tando Jam in August 2008 and sent to the Natural History Museum UK were identified as Aenasius sp. nov. nr. longiscapus Compere (Hymenoptera: Encyrtidae) – see http://www.cabi.org/default.aspx?site=170&page=1303. Although the specimens collected from Maconellicoccus sp. attacking the cotton at Lodhran and Rahim Yar Khan in 2008 were not officially identified, it is likely they are the same species.


96.1%, respectively). High levels of parasitism (up to 70%) were also reported by entomologists in the Sindh late season in 2008. Dr. Chamberlain followed up these late 2008 season collections with further collections from the lower Punjab in the following season (mid and late season mealybug collections at two sites and from another two sites where mealybugs appeared only late in the season). Once again very high levels of parasitism were recorded (8894%) in late season populations where the parasites had time to establish with lower levels (3035%) where infestations were only recent (see Dr. Chamberlain’s data in the Table below).



Number of mealybugs sampled

Number of parasites emerging (days after collection) 9 12 15 18 21 24 Total % parasitism

Lodhran 2008 Oct Rahim Yar Khan Iqbal Bagh Rang Pur Iqbal Bagh 2009 12th Sept Rang Pur Kot Sardar Khan Roti Shareef

86 103 76 97 84 65 102 75


8 10 6 9 13 9 5 4

12 28 12 19 23 19 15 7

31 40 18 24 29 17 7 10

30 21 9 7 14 12 4 5


81 99 45 59 79 57 31 26

94.2 96.1 59.2 60.8 94.0 87.7 30.4 34.7

9th July

Data source: Kindly supplied by Dr. David Chamberlain (pers. comm.)

Dr Chamberlain’s observations on the abundance of the encyrtid parasite Aenasius sp. certainly fit with field observations of declining mealybug infestations starting in 2008 with a continuing decline into 2009. Given continuing high levels of parasitism, one should be confident to anticipate that the mealybug populations will be reduced to very low levels and assuming that they are not triggered off again, should now be able to held in check by their natural enemies.


In this regard, the current introduction of the mealybug destroying ladybird Cryptolaemus montrouzieri by CABI can only help in assisting to keep the mealybug populations in check. What is the long term solution to the mealybug menace? Pakistan entomologists need to do some basic research on the ecology of the mealybug and its natural enemies to determine what the trigger for the mealybug population explosion was in 2005-2007. If and when this trigger is identified and it can be attributed to be caused by human activities, then all management efforts should be made to ensure that this trigger is never again activated. 2.3 Lack of a professional seed industry

Pakistani cotton growers have been plagued with this problem for many years. The result is that the planting seed they have been supplied with often has poor germination and is mostly lacking in genetic purity because of breeding shortcuts, haste to market and seed contamination, often at the gin. Growers often end up trying to manage a mixture of varieties in the one field so that any one crop management decision may not necessarily be the best one for all the varieties in the field. For example in the picture below, there is a pure seed production block in the background, rogued for off types. In the foreground, is a commercial field of the same variety with clearly a range of different types and maturities in the same field, including even desi cotton (Gossypium arboreum) off types.

Pure seed production block

Same variety, commercial seed, separated by road

Desi cotton contaminants


This has been an on-going problem for the conventional seed market and will become even more important for the developing transgenic cotton seed market. Quality assurance is critical for transgenic seed production otherwise you can end up with mixed and/or segregating seed which gives rise to a number of problems, such as: 1) Bt resistance risk – bollworm larvae can crawl between Bt and non-Bt plants to recover from Bt poisoning; and 2) yield loss from the nonBt plants in the field which are unprotected from bollworm attack. In fact, research from the US has shown that for every 1% loss in Bt purity, the farmer loses 0.5 - 0.9% yield, depending on the pest pressure. 4 For example, if Bt purity is only at 90%, then growers would suffer a 5% yield loss under low bollworm pressure, up to 9% under high bollworm pressure. These potential yield losses are significant enough in their own right, let alone the risk to the future efficacy of Bt cotton. There are other consequences of the lack of a professional seed industry, such as the following: 1) Growers held to ransom by the uncontrolled seed mafia 2) Unauthorised introduction of Bt cotton 3) New varieties are sometimes released prematurely just to exploit the novelty marketing factor without adding significantly to the range of grower choice

The smooth leaf variety in the centre of this jassid screening trial indicates the potential severity of jassid damage

4) The foreign germplasm introduced as the unauthorized Bt donor is not necessarily adapted to the local environmental or pest and disease conditions. For example, most potential Bt donor varieties from the US, China and Australia are smooth leaf and therefore susceptible to jassid attack. They are also usually very susceptible to CLCV and not generally heat tolerant. This means that the Bt backcrossing introgression programme needs to be conducted with

Agi, A.L., Mahaffey, J.S., Bradley Jr., J.R. & Van Duyn, J.W. (2001) Journal of Cotton Science 5: 74-80


scrupulous attention to detail with sufficient enough backcross generations (maybe even up to BC6) to breed out the unwanted traits. If not, then these unwanted traits such as jassid and CLCV tolerance will segregate in the subsequent commercial crops and will be observed to varying degrees in growers’ fields, adding to the growers’ yield loss problems. This is already happening in commercial planting seed of unauthorized Bt with many growers observing more jassid and CLCV damage than they would normally expect in such a variety. The extent of the problem of lack of genetic purity in commercial crops is difficult to quantify but a survey of commercial cotton crops by the Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) in the 2007 season gives an idea of the degree of the problem.

Sindh % of crop as Bt cotton Planting seed source % off types noted % fake Bt % mixed Bt or segregating 80% Gins 10-20% 10% 15%

Punjab 50% private 10-20% 5% 4%

The problem seems worse in the Sindh, maybe because it started first with Bt cotton or maybe because the seed was sourced from potentially contaminated seed from gins. Nevertheless, these figures paint an alarming picture which can only become worse over time if nothing is done to improve the Pakistani cottonseed industry. Why then is there no professional cottonseed industry in Pakistan, as there is in, say, India? Government policy over the years has pushed for a public breeding and seed supply system but this has clearly not delivered. There are no incentives for the private seed sector investment and no Intellectual Property (IP) protection for the development of new germplasm. The draft Plant Breeders Rights Act must be enacted as soon as possible and once in place, must be enforced. Patent protection laws are already in place for the protection of new technologies and traits but they must be regarded and enforced if necessary. These protections will benefit both local public and private and multinational seed sector and technology companies and will most definitely encourage the development of a professional seed industry in Pakistan. A viable private seed sector must be encouraged and supported in Pakistan. In addition to the IP protection measures mentioned above, the following actions are strongly recommended:


1) Pass the Seed Act 1976 amendment to include the private sector. 2) Ensure all private seed sector companies have open access to any public germplasm releases, on the same commercial royalty terms. Public seed companies, such as the Punjab Seed Corporation, should be treated no differently. 3) Ensure that public sector and private sector variety approvals are treated equally and that the approval process is not influenced by the parties with vested interests. India took a different path to professionalise its cottonseed industry. It made a conscious effort about 30-40 years ago to develop hybrid cotton which took a while to develop but which now accounts for about 70% of the Indian cottonseed market. Heterosis or hybrid vigour in cotton so far has been much less than that experienced in other crops such as corn, sorghum and sunflowers (say around 5% at most versus 20% or so for these other crops), so hybrid cotton was adopted more for higher quality seed (better germination and genetic purity) than for hybrid vigour. The adoption of hybrid cotton in India then allowed a private seed sector to develop as growers had to now buy fresh seed each year (de facto IP protection if you like). The growers were also happy as they were now being supplied with genetically pure, high quality planting seed with good germination and seedling vigour. The growers were prepared to pay more for the more expensive hybrid cotton seed as it delivered growers a greater economic benefit and seed companies were prepared to invest in plant breeding and seed processing improvements as they were assured of a return on their investments. So the Indian cottonseed industry has flourished and India has been able to enjoy the benefits of a professional cottonseed industry with ready access to the full range of currently available transgenic technologies for cotton and no doubt continuing access to the pipeline of future transgenic technologies in cotton. So what about the possibility of developing a hybrid cotton industry in Pakistan? Hybrid cotton production is a very labour intensive process with most commercial production requiring hand emasculation in the afternoon and hand pollination the following morning. Hand emasculation is the most demanding task and does require a level of dexterity and children are preferred for this task. So this has led to the problem of the use of child labour in hybrid cotton production systems in India and China. While this may be considered less of a problem for local seed companies, it is a very significant issue for multinational seed companies who are at an economic disadvantage as they do not support this practice. This would also be a problem for Pakistan, in addition to the problem of having no experience base in the practice of hybrid cottonseed production. In comparison, India has 30-40 years of experience, and a specialized


hybrid cottonseed industry is already in place with dedicated hybrid cottonseed producing districts and villages with professional “organizers”.

Hybrid cottonseed production in China

There are two other conventional hybrid production systems used but these do have their own set of problems and are not that widely used. These are: 1) Genetic Male Sterility is used but you have to rogue out the 50% fertile plants in the seed production fields and the yield drag from heat stress is around 3-5%. It is a complex two gene recessive system and requires a longer backcrossing programme; and 2) Cytoplasmic Male Sterility is rarely used because of the unacceptable 8-10% yield loss due to heat sensitivity. In addition to the lack of any history of hybrid cottonseed production infrastructure and experience in Pakistan, there are a number of other major technical and logistical difficulties. These are discussed below briefly. Technical problems 1) Lack of suitable seed production areas – it is generally too hot in the central Pakistan cotton belt for successful hybrid cottonseed production. Seed production will either have to be in the milder northern Punjab or southern Sindh to avoid excessive heat during the seed production period. However, in the more industrialized north there will be competition for labour and in the south, it may be too wet for reliable production of high quality seed. 2) Lack of compensatory ability in low planting density hybrids – because of the higher cost of hybrid seed, it is planted at a much lower planting rate than that used for varieties. Hybrid cotton is planted at around 1 kg per acre in the Indian Punjab and varieties are planted at around 5-8 kg per acre in Pakistan. So debilitating problems like CLCV and jassids (which severely affect the growth and productivity of infected/infested plants), become much more important problems as the same percentage infection at low planting rates will cause significantly more production losses because of the reduced compensatory ability. For example in the two photos below, we


can clearly see the reduced biomass production capability in the substantial bare areas surrounding the badly affected plants.

Left – CLCV in Pakistan. Note hybrid in front – variety at back. Right – Jassid damage in India

Logistical problems It will be very hard to quickly ramp up the hybrid production capability in Pakistan from a zero base to a level that can effectively meet the hybrid seed demands for a 3.2m hectare cotton industry in Pakistan. While not an impossible task, it could take up to 10 years or so to develop a viable hybrid cottonseed production industry in Pakistan using currently available systems. For example, if you have say 200 seed production farms or villages at 20 acres each, this will give you 4,000 acres of seed production capability. Given current production capabilities, this should produce enough planting seed for 100,000 hectares at a variety competitive planting rate of 2 kg hybrid seed per hectare and this would meet only 3% of the country’s needs. The estimated labour requirement to do this would be 300 workers per 20 acre farm or seed production village per day from August to mid September. In addition, the production cost of this seed would be high at around 500 PR per kg of black seed compared to around 30 PR/kg black for varietal seed. 2.4 Weeds

Weeds are a major yield constraint in Pakistan cotton production but surprisingly are hardly mentioned by anyone as a problem. Perhaps people are fatalistic about weeds and just accept that they cannot do much about them and take the yield losses. But herbicide tolerant cottons will offer growers a new weed control tool. There are a number of herbicide tolerant technologies currently available in cotton from multiple technology suppliers and some which will become available in the near term. In fact, the first cotton biotech product to be commercialised was BXN cotton from Calgene in 1995 (technology


went to Bayer and now withdrawn). This was an herbicide tolerant cotton resistant to bromoxynil, a photosystems II photosynthesis inhibitor (HRAC [Herbicide Resistance Action Committee] mode of action class C3). This was followed in 1997 by Monsanto’s Roundup Ready cotton resistant to glyphosate, an aromatic amino acid inhibitor at EPSP synthase (HRAC mode of action class G). This first version of glyphosate tolerant cotton had full vegetative (that is pre-squaring) tolerance but only limited reproductive (that is squaring, flowering, boll development and maturation) tolerance to glyphosate resulting in glyphosate use in this initial technology being restricted to 2 over-the-top sprays before the 4 true leaf stage followed by up to another 2 possible postdirected sprays to the base of the plant until row closure. Full vegetative and reproductive tolerance to glyphosate was not achieved until the release of Monsanto’s improved 2-gene Roundup Ready Flex technology in 2006 which allowed growers much greater flexibility in glyphosate spray applications (up to 3 over-the-top sprays to 16 nodes and one post-directed spray from 16-22 nodes plus 1 end-of-season spray if required). The only other herbicide tolerant biotech trait commercialised so far is Bayer’s Liberty Link cotton back in 2004, which is resistant to glufosinate, a glutamine synthesis inhibitor (HRAC mode of action class H). So far this technology has not been out-licensed in cotton but crosslicensing agreements have been announced in other crops and just recently in cotton. Weed control is compounded by the CLCV problem

Monsanto has also announced that it is developing a second herbicide tolerance trait to stack with Roundup Ready Flex. This new cotton technology will confer resistance to dicamba, a synthetic auxin growth regulator (HRAC mode of action class O). This should certainly help


address the developing concerns over the increasing number of glyphosate resistant weeds which will be further exacerbated by the wider and more liberal application window afforded by the introduction of Roundup Ready Flex cotton in 2006. However, there may be volatility and drift issues with dicamba herbicide which will have to be closely watched and managed if required. Bayer is proposing a 2-gene stacked Glytol / Liberty Link herbicide tolerant technology. Glytol will be Bayer’s own glyphosate resistance technology which will be stacked with their current Liberty Link (glufosinate resistant) technology. Dow has also announced the development of its own 2-gene stacked DHT herbicide tolerant technology. DHT stands for Dow Agrosciences Herbicide Tolerance Trait and is based on resistance to 2 separate herbicide classes: the synthetic auxin growth regulators (HRAC mode of action class O) and the aryloxy phenoxy propionate or “fop” herbicides (HRAC mode of action class A). Once again, this should help to manage potential herbicide resistance problems but the auxinic herbicides do present potential volatility and drift management issues. Syngenta is also developing its own glyphosate tolerant cotton technology (Touchdown Tolerance). Dupont has also recently announced the development of its new OPTIMUM GAT herbicide tolerance technology for cotton and other field crops. OPTIMUM is an umbrella brand name and GAT stands for Glyphosate ALS Tolerant which is based on resistance to 2 separate herbicide classes: glyphosate and the acetolactate synthase (ALS) inhibitor herbicides such as the sulfonylureas and imidazolinones (HRAC mode of action class B). The OPTIMUM technology is based on DuPont’s proprietary “gene shuffling” technique to optimise expression/activity of candidate transgenes. Once again, this will certainly help in the management of potential herbicide resistance problems. However, it should also be noted that in Pakistan, weeds serve an important function for the local villagers who harvest them for forage for their household livestock. This source of historical “free fodder” should be recognized and alternatives devised if and when herbicide tolerant technologies are adopted, so that underprivileged villagers are not disadvantaged. The recommendation for herbicide tolerant technologies in Pakistan is to go straight to Monsanto’s Roundup Ready Flex glyphosate tolerant cotton and to stack it with double gene Bollgard 2 or triple gene Bollgard 3 (to be discussed later). There is no point in delaying as all


these technologies are available here and now for introgression into local germplasm. Other potential technology providers should also be consulted.

HRAC Herbicide Tolerance Classes in Cotton
A = fops & dims B = su’s & imi’s C = BXN G = glyphosate H = glufosinate O = auxins







MON / Bayer

3-way stack




High input costs and water scarcity

Like most farmers around the world, Pakistan cotton farmers are being hit by rising input costs, particularly diesel and fertilizer costs. The cost of pumping water is being exacerbated by the disruption of electricity supplies with extra demands on diesel to maintain pumping capacity. While these issues are extremely important to growers, they are beyond the remit of this review and will not be discussed further here.


In regards to the claim of water scarcity, some people suggest it is not a matter of the shortage of water but more an inefficient management of its supply and distribution. I suspect this is probably the case from what I have seen and read but again, this is not part of the remit of this review and will not be discussed further here except to say there should be more research on WUE (Water Use Efficiency) in cotton in Pakistan. Consider the following figures: 5 WUE in Australia WUE in Egypt WUE in Pakistan 227 kg lint produced per megalitre of water used 136 kg lint produced per megalitre of water used 50 kg lint produced per megalitre of water used

There is certainly lots of room for improvement in WUE in Pakistan. 2.6 Bollworms

Bollworms and armyworms have been a consistent but variable constraint on cotton production in Pakistan requiring in most years 4 to 5 sprays. Up until the last couple of years, these have been controlled with varying levels of success by conventional synthetic insecticides. With the wide scale introduction of unauthorized MON 531 cotton (effectively Bollgard 1 cotton), the pest status of the majority of these pests in cotton has declined. There are a number of insecticide tolerant technologies currently available in cotton from multiple technology suppliers and some which will become available in the near term. Currently available insect tolerance cotton technologies are: 1) Monsanto’s (MON 531) Bollgard 1 – introduced in the US and Australia in 1996, contains Cry 1Ac protein from Bacillus thuringiensis. It is effective on a range of lepidopteran (chewing caterpillar) pests, including all the main ones in cotton (American bollworm, spiny and spotted bollworms and pink bollworm) but is only marginally effective on Spodoptera armyworm. It has high efficacy for around 100 days after planting, thereafter efficacy gradually declines; so some supplementary spraying may still be required, depending on pest pressure. MON 531 was brought into Pakistan unofficially and backcrossed into local germplasm. It has been adopted widely across the whole of the Pakistan cotton belt and would account now for around 80% of the cotton plantings in Sindh province and around 60% in the Punjab. MON 531 has not yet been approved by the Pakistan regulatory authorities so it currently has unauthorized regulatory status, although there are now efforts to rectify this situation. Monsanto never applied for a patent on MON 531 in Pakistan so it is legal to use Bollgard 1 technology in Pakistan. The

Irrigation of Cotton – The ICAC Recorder Vol 21(4) Dec 2003 pp. 4-9


situation on exports of textile products made from lint from unpatented Bollgard 1 cotton grown in Pakistan into countries where MON 531 has patent protection, has been examined in detail by the Government of Punjab Task Force on Promotion of Bt Cotton in Punjab (June 2008 – Findings & Recommendations). Their conclusion is that the case law studies so far indicate that MON 531 protection in North America and the EU (where it is patented), does not extend to import of products made from cotton plants containing Bt genes. Their conclusion on this is quote: “It is now crystal clear that in the absence of patent protection on MON 531, plant breeders and molecular biologists have a legitimate right (without jeopardizing Pakistan’s commercial interests in export markets) to use MON 531 for improvement of cotton and other crops in Pakistan.” 2) Monsanto’s (MON 15985) Bollgard 2 – introduced in the US and Australia in 2002, contains Cry 1Ac and Cry 2Ab proteins from Bacillus thuringiensis. This certainly improved efficacy longevity and the range of pests controlled (now much more effective on Spodoptera armyworms), as well as greatly enhancing the potential durability of the technology from a Resistance Management perspective. Monsanto has broadly out-licensed this technology which is also patented in Pakistan. 3) Dow’s WideStrike® – introduced in the US in 2004, contains Cry 1Ac and Cry 1F proteins from Bacillus thuringiensis. WideStrike® has not yet been commercialized outside the US but Dow has done some cross-licensing deals with Monsanto. Efficacy on New World Heliothis virescens has been excellent but it is unclear yet how well it will work on Old World bollworms. 4) Chinese Bt – introduced in China in 1997 by Biocentury from research out of the CAAS (Chinese Academy of Sciences). Two technologies were introduced: a single gene product (a ‘fused’ Cry 1Ac/Cry 1Ab gene from Bacillus thuringiensis) and a 2-gene stacked product also containing CpTi (a trypsin inhibitor from cowpea). It is unclear if the 2-gene product is still being sold but there are claims that the single Cry 1Ac/1Ab-fusion gene technology accounts for around 80% of Bt cotton sales in China. However, Monsanto’s Bollgard 1 technology was also commercialised at the same time as the CAAS technology so it is almost impossible to accurately determine the surviving technology mix in China’s current varieties. Biocentury has also just received permission to commercialise its Cry 1Ac/Cry 1Ab-fusion technology in Indian cotton hybrids and is actively pursuing other markets and licensees. There have been mixed reports on efficacy of the Chinese Bts.


5) Indian Bt – introduced in India in 2007 by the local Indian seed company JK Agrigenetics. This is single gene insect tolerant cotton utilising a modified Cry 1Ac protein from Bacillus thuringiensis developed by the Indian Institute of Technology at Kharagpur. Efficacy is unknown. Following is a list of insect tolerance cotton technologies that are likely to be available in the market in the near term. 1) Monsanto’s Bollgard 3 – Monsanto has recently announced a proposed 2014 global release date for its new Bollgard 3 product (subject to a favorable regulatory approval process). It will be a breeding stack of the current Bollgard 2 with the Vip 3A gene to be licensed in from Syngenta. This should improve the potential durability of the technology from a Resistance Management perspective and may also enhance the efficacy and range against some lepidopteran pests. 2) Monsanto’s Lygus bug (sucking insect) tolerance - Monsanto has also announced its work to develop Lygus bug tolerance which, if successful, will be the first transgenic technology to work on non-lepidopteran sucking insects. However, highly mobile insects such as the heteropteran mirids which have damaging adult as well as juvenile stages, will present a real challenge for insecticidal transgenes which have to be ingested first to work. 3) Bayer’s TwinLink® - Bayer is also developing its own Twin Link 2-gene insect control technology based on Cry 1Ab and Cry 2Ae from Bacillus thuringiensis. This will be stacked with the proposed 2-gene stacked Glytol / Liberty Link herbicide tolerant technology. 4) Syngenta’s VipCot® - Syngenta is also close to commercialisation of its 2-gene stacked VipCot insect control technology based on Cry 1Ab and Vip 3A from Bacillus thuringiensis. The Cry 1Ab endotoxin protein is very similar to the Cry 1Ab and Cry 1Ac proteins used by all the other companies but the Vip 3a exotoxin has a unique mode of action and will be a very useful component for future resistance management programmes for insecticidal transgenic cottons. However, the recent acquisition of Syngenta’s VipCot commercialisation partner Delta and Pine Land Company leaves some uncertainty as to the commercial future of this technology. 5) CAMB Bt – CAMB (Centre for Applied Molecular Biology in Lahore) has isolated its own local versions of Cry 1Ab and Cry 2A from Bacillus thuringiensis and has been granted a patent in Pakistan in 2005 (Patent # 138279). Commercial agreements have been made with at least one local company for use of this technology in cotton (both single and double gene variants) and biosafety studies are proceeding. Backcrossing into elite local cultivars has also started. There are also a number of other companies/institutes developing various insecticidal transgenic cottons based on Cry proteins derived from Bacillus thuringiensis, including the


Central Institute for Cotton Research in India (for Gossypium arboreum as well as G. hirsutum) and NIBGE in Pakistan. An Australian company Hexima is also developing insecticidal transgenic cotton based on 2-gene stacked proteinase inhibitors from ornamental tobacco and potatoes.

Insecticidal Proteins in Cotton
k stac -way T3 3A / SY + Vip MON 2Ab ry c+C ry 1A C
MON Bayer DuPont

Cry 2Ab/e
MON Bayer DuPont


Cry 1Ab/c

Hexima Metahelix Meta helix

Cry 1C

MON Bayer DuPont DOW NBRI Chinese Bt SYT Metahelix JK Agrigenetics ICGEB CICR NBRI NIBGE China CAMB


Cry 1F


Cry 1E

Bollworms in Pakistan are currently considered under control in Pakistan due to the wide scale adoption of unauthorized MON 531 Bt cotton but as stated previously in the section on the organization of the Pakistan cottonseed industry, this could be soon at risk. A lack of proper Quality Assurance procedures during seed production and backcrossing during the Bt gene introgression process, has resulted in widespread significant plantings of “de facto seed mixes”.


These are a considerable threat to the continued viability of Bt cotton and these problems should be rectified as soon as possible if Pakistan is to continue benefiting from the bollworm control afforded by Bt cotton. The key factors affecting the development of resistance to Bt cotton will be addressed later but it is clear that Pakistan should be planning now for the introduction of pyramided or stacked gene products for bollworm control. It is much more difficult for insects to develop resistance to two or more combined toxins than it is for them to develop resistance to the same toxins presented individually and sequentially. This then brings the first of a number of recommendations concerning the adoption of insect tolerant cottons for the Pakistan cotton industry:1) It is strongly recommended that Pakistan introduce Bollgard 2 or 3 (and other stacked insecticidal transgenes) as soon as possible and that this should be done through a professional cottonseed industry. Do not delay because of the current high resistance risk to segregating and mixed single gene Bollgard 1. Stack this with Roundup Ready Flex. 2) Negotiate with Monsanto for either a one-off fee or a per kg based technology fee. Details of both these pricing models have been communicated separately. The subsidy could be gradually phased out after, say, 5-10 years. Pricing should be based on parity for the same product sold in the Indian Punjab. Explore alternative funding sources e.g. US aid funds. 3) Negotiate also with other potential technology providers. 4) As part of the Tech Fee, ask for training in introgression breeding and genetic purity Quality Assurance. Ideally, a Centre of Excellence for this should be set up in Pakistan. 5) Independently check to verify the efficacy of all potential Bt cottons against a standard reference technology (e.g. Bollgard 1 for single gene Bts and Bollgard 2 for double gene Bts). This should be done in side by side replicated field tests, artificially infested if need be. 6) Ask for information on primers for all new Bt technologies to be lodged in all regulatory applications (Commercial-in-Confidence if required) so that potential future disputes on genetic integrity of commercial products can be effectively investigated. 7) As a matter of urgency, set up a Bt Resistance Monitoring facility in Pakistan so that any changes in bollworm susceptibility to Bt toxins can be closely tracked. 8) Improve and develop local Bio-Safety Evaluation capacity so that the relevant Pakistan authorities are capable of following the world’s best practice in the evaluation of new GM


regulatory applications. This should involve training in such places as the US/Canada and/or Australia as well as contact with such organizations as the International Society for Bio-Safety Research (http://www.isbr.info/) and the International Life Sciences Institute

(http://www.ilsi.org/AboutILSI/IFBIC/). Attendance at relevant conferences should also be encouraged.



Research is essential to underpin a large number of the objectives suggested here in this report. Unfortunately, the current research system is failing the growers, not for want of talent from many of the researchers but a failure of the system to allow researchers the freedom to operate their research programmes effectively. The bureaucracy beats them. The system has to be changed if Pakistan is to resolve the problems identified in this report. The competitive funding model being suggested by Dr. Mubarak Ali of the Punjab Agricultural Research Board (PARB) is a refreshing novel approach to the funding model for agricultural research in Pakistan and I strongly recommend that it should be implemented as soon as possible. I can also see a need to set up a new Cotton Research & Development Corporation sponsored specialist cotton research facility. This should be set up anew so that it can be unencumbered by previous organizational structures. Funding for this could come from the current industry surcharges and taxes. For example, APTMA currently pays US$ 28m per year in surcharges and cesses to support cotton research in Pakistan while the ginners currently pay another US $5m per year in cesses.


Future Pipeline Technologies

Pakistan needs to enter the mainstream science and technology arena with strong IP laws and enforcement. This will allow Pakistan prompt access to future technologies and breakthroughs. Otherwise, Pakistan will be left behind scrambling for outdated technologies or left to fend for itself. There are a number of new transgenic technologies being worked on around the world of relevance to cotton, in addition to those insect and herbicide tolerant technologies mentioned previously. Most are output traits but there are also some new input traits for disease and nematode control. Some of the more important ones are:


• • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Drought tolerance from Monsanto (getting closer to commercial release) and other companies Disease tolerance, especially Fusarium and Verticillium tolerance in Australia and CLCV tolerance in India and Pakistan Nematode tolerance in the US Yield enhancement (including improved photosynthetic ability) Improved nutrient use efficiency Tolerance to high temperatures Chilling tolerance Salt tolerance Water logging tolerance Improved oil quality (e.g. healthier high oleic cottonseed oils) Improved fibre quality (length, strength etc) Fabric quality (e.g. Bayer’s work on flame retardance, improved chemical reactivity and antiwrinkle) Coloured cotton (so far unsuccessful) Novel insect control products (e.g. Dow’s work on toxins from Photorhabdus and Xenorhabdus symbionts from entomopathogenic nematodes) and toxins from spiders, scorpions, ant lions, parasitic wasps, etc., and lectins, cyclotides, monoterpenes, peroxidases, etc.

There are also a range of new biotechnologies to facilitate cotton breeding. Recent discoveries in cotton genomics have facilitated new biotechnology tools to help cotton breeders breed better cottons. New Marker-Aided Selection tools will help breeders select for rare traits of economic value or those left behind during the domestication of crops. Biotechnology breakthroughs will allow much of this previously tedious work to be conducted more efficiently by moving testing from the field to the lab. Gene chip microarrays will also allow the identification of large numbers (+ 10,000) of short sequences of DNA or RNA at one time which will allow the simultaneous tracking of many genes for complex traits such as fibre quality and stress tolerance.


Insecticide Resistance Management

I have already addressed the issue of preferentially using Bt genes in pyramided stacks rather than deploying them individually and sequentially. A number of researchers have modeled the


various factors which can affect the rate of anticipated resistance development to Bt toxins in transgenic plants. In the following figure, Dr. Rick Roush 6 has modeled the impact of either using two genes stacked together from the start such as in Bollgard 2 (pyramid line in the figure) or using one of them alone first, such as in Bollgard 1, and then introducing the second after resistance has developed to the first gene (sequence line in the figure). The starting resistance gene allele frequency which is normally used is 10-4 (I in 10,000). There are normally 4-5 generations of American bollworm per year and of these about 2-3 would be subject to selection pressure each year, so the number of generations for 50% of the population to develop resistance (on the vertical axis in the figure, note this is a log scale) should be divided by 2-3 to work out the anticipated viability of a technology in years. So pyramided gene technologies would be anticipated to last 150 to 250 years and single genes used sequentially 6-9 years. Clearly, it is highly advantageous to progress to pyramided (Cry 1Ac + Cry 2Ab) Bollgard 2 before using up the efficacy of Cry 1Ac alone in Bollgard 1 and the triple gene stack Bollgard 3 would be even better.

The role of refuges is also important to discuss. In Australia and the US, separate conventional refuge crops were mandated to be used to allow production of Bt susceptible moths to allow dilution of any resistant moths selected in the transgenic Bt crops. The size of these compulsory refuge crops varied from 5-10% (if they were left unsprayed) of the total planted Bt cotton area in the US and Australia, respectively. A similar requirement was mandated in India but adoption of these conventional unsprayed refuge areas will always be problematic in small scale

Roush, R. T. 1997. Managing Resistance to Transgenic Crops. pp. 271-294, in Advances in Insect Control: The Role of Transgenic Plants, N. Carozzi and M. Koziel, eds. Taylor and Francis (London)


agriculture such as practised in India, China and elsewhere. In these cases, it is argued that whatever natural refuges are available will dilute any resistant moths. This may or may not be the case as the refuges have to be: 1) sufficient in moth production capacity to dilute resistant moths from any Bt crops; 2) close enough to the Bt crops to ensure cross mating; and 3) producing moths at the same time as the Bt crops, also to ensure cross mating. These conditions may not necessarily be met in all cases, so resistance risk will be generally greater in these scenarios. The resistance risk will be greatly enhanced if these countries then deploy the same Bt toxins as found in Bt cotton (such as Cry 1Ab/c), in these other deemed refuge crops which would then not be diluting resistance but simply adding to it. This could be happening soon in many developing countries with plans to incorporate Cry 1Ab/c Bt toxin into current bollworm conventional refuge crops such as corn, chick peas, sorghum etc. The efficacy of the various Bt technologies is also an important factor in designing or evaluating the requirement for refuge size. Efficacy is defined as the ability for a Bt cotton plant to kill heterozygous larvae in the field. Heterozygous bollworm larvae carry only one of the two potential resistance alleles and are the commonest individuals found in the early stages of resistance development. These are the individuals that are targeted for mating with susceptible refuge moths so that resistance alleles can be kept heterozygous (that is single) rather than homozygous (that is carrying two copies and thus being more resistant and usually harder to control). The following figure shows Roush’s model for the varying estimated kill levels of Bollgard 1 and Bollgard 2 compared to a relative poor performing Bt technology. In this case, we are looking for the necessary refuge sizes for each of these Bt technologies to keep resistance under control for say 20 generations, (equals 7-10 years). This is where the thin horizontal line at 20 generations in the figure below, meets the three vertical red lines representing the varying levels of field efficacy.


High Dose & Refuges

1 0

Poor expressing Bt



This model shows that for the poor expressing, lower efficacy sub-standard Bt that 20% unsprayed refuges would be required but only 10% and 2% refuges would be required for Bollgard 1 and Bollgard 2, respectively. To get 40 generations (14-20 years) of resistance management, you would need to increase the Bollgard 1 and Bollgard 2 refuges, to 20% and 5%, respectively while the poor expressing Bt technology would blow out to over 50% estimated (see figure below).


High Dose & Refuges

1 0

Poor expressing Bt



The models above clearly indicate the importance of high dose (which equals high efficacy) in managing resistance. This is why checking for efficacy in the range of various commercially available Bt products is so critical. You should always choose the most efficacious products and reject the poorer performing products which are a greater resistance risk requiring much larger refuges. This is all the more important where structured refuges are not possible and where natural refuges are all that are available. In these situations, the higher efficacy products will require less natural refuge than the lower efficacy products for the same level of resistance management. This is why the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently removed the 5% structured refuge requirement for Bollgard 2 in most of the US cotton belt but still maintained the 5% refuge for Bollgard 1. They argued that the natural refuges were satisfactory for the more efficacious Bollgard 2 product in most cases.



Sources for Germplasm and Public Sector Technologies

The cotton breeders in Pakistan have already good connections with many of the publically available cotton germplasm resources. In fact, many of these have already been exploited in trying to identify new sources of CLCV resistance, e.g. the CIRAD cotton germplasm collection, principally from Africa and Central and South America. There has also been a recent initiative from Dr. Rafiq Chaudhry at the International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC) to organize a “North-South” germplasm exchange between paired “sister Cotton Research Institutes” from the northern and southern hemispheres. This is an excellent idea to facilitate germplasm exchange between public research institutes. However, there is still a large amount of cotton germplasm in the hands of private institutions and the best way to get access to this germplasm resource is to encourage and support a viable private seed sector in Pakistan, as outlined previously. In regards to access to public-good biotech products and processes, there are really only a few viable alternatives, other than the public sector universities in the developed countries of Canada, US, Australia and Europe. Even in these institutions, there is now a push to commercialise their biotech research efforts, closing off many public-good opportunities. The main institutions worth approaching on this are:CAMBIA in Australia (http://www.cambia.org/daisy/cambia/home.html) ICGEB in Italy (http://www.icgeb.trieste.it/about-the-centre.html) BRDC in USA (http://www.biordc.com/technolo/a4.htm) CIMBAA in USA (http://cimbaa.org/) Crawford Fund in Australia (http://www.crawfordfund.org/about/governors.htm) IFPRI in USA (http://www.ifpri.org/themes/themes_menu.asp) Syngenta Foundation (http://www.syngentafoundation.org/syngenta_foundation_plant_genetic_resources.htm) The Rockefeller Foundation (http://www.rockfound.org/)


7. Summary of Recommendations
1) Enact the Plant Breeders’ Rights Act 2) Pass the Seed Act 1976 amendment to ensure equality to private seed sector 3) Empower the Cotton Research & Development Company (CRDC) with freedom to operate 4) Establish Centre of Excellence for Cotton R&D as part of the CRDC 5) Commission PARB competitive funding model 6) Negotiate BG 2/3 + RR Flex licence from MON 7) Push for one off or per kg licence fee and explore alternative funding sources 8) Involve multiple technology providers (e.g. Bayer, Syngenta, Dow, Chinese Bt) to ensure competition 9) Implement interim extension programme to mitigate the economic impact of CLCV 10) Improve Bio-Safety evaluation capacity 11) Set up a Bt Resistance Monitoring facility


Appendix 1 Changing the Cotton Landscape in Pakistan Terms of Reference

Cotton is the most important crop in Pakistan and livelihoods of millions of people (directly or indirectly) depend upon its successful cultivation and processing. There has been considerable improvement during the last few decades in increasing yield per unit of land and improving agronomic properties, especially fibre quality. However, both yield and fibre quality is still below the international standards. Biotechnology application in agriculture has emerged as a major technical innovation that promises to increase yields and improve quality. In Pakistan, Bt cotton was introduced through informal sector in 2002 as a means to reduce crop damage due to bollworms and consequently improve yields. This was a major step forward, but a number of factors have kept Bt from realising its full potential. There exists a need for science based analysis of issues concerning cultivation of Bt cotton and suggesting ways and means of its sustained use in the years to come. In particular, an in-depth examination is warranted of the ways and means for Pakistan to move from the current position of lagging far behind other agricultural economies in the introduction of BT technology to a position at par with the rest of the world wherein it becomes possible for the most cutting edge BT technology to be introduced in Pakistan at the same time as it is done in the leading agricultural economies. With this broad objective, following issues need to be probed specifically. 1) Detailed examination of the prospects of resistance development in cotton bollworms due to large scale cultivation of informal Bt cotton in Pakistan Bt cotton presently occupies around 90% and 60% of cotton area in Sindh and Punjab respectively. In the absence of any regulatory oversight, the level of toxin expression in many Bt varieties may be less than optimal. This may expedite the development of resistance in cotton bollworm against Cry toxins. Also, there is no concept of maintaining the 20% refugia as part of the resistance management strategy. Local experts, however, have discounted such fears on two grounds: 1) landholdings are fragmented and many different crops are planted side by side; and 2) double-gene products will be available in the market before resistance has developed. How serious is the threat of resistance build up and how valid are the arguments of local experts needs to be carefully examined. To be specific what are the chances of significant resistance build up happening before the minimum four to five years required for the availability of ‘real’ Bt technology, or can the current crop of Bt varieties disintegrate in that interim period? 2) Comprehensive examination of the range of biotech products available from multinational organisations (other than Monsanto) for Pakistani cotton farmers There is a general impression that Monsanto is the only company which has multiple products ready for Pakistani markets. Other companies (Dow, Syngenta, Bayer, Pioneer, etc.) either do not have marketable products or are not vigorously exploring the Pakistani market. In either case, we need to carefully examine the range of (insect resistant in particular but also other)


products on offer from alternate (i.e. non-Monsanto) sources, and how the access of Pakistani cotton farmers to these products can be increased. A related issue is that of Bt 121 – a variety of exotic origin that occupies around 90% of transgenic cotton area. The variety has so far given good yield and protection against bollworms. How (and whether) this potential can be sustained is an important concern. 3) Assessment of the suitability of Chinese biotech products for Pakistani cotton landscape Government of Punjab as well as many private seed companies are negotiating with the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) (through their authorised agents like M/s Biocentury and M/s Silver Land) for import of various Bt cotton products. The CAAS products are available at a much lower cost as compared with Monsanto products. But before we make a decision, the efficacy and effectiveness of CAAS products for Pakistani cotton landscape needs to be examined critically, especially in comparison with Monsanto products. 4) Identification of international sources of public-good biotech products and processes Many technologies are available as open source products through international organisations (e.g. FAO) and public sector universities. What are some of the more important biotech products and processes that we can access through the open source and use in local research and development programmes? 5) Identification of sources for import of elite germplasm Pakistani cotton has narrow genetic base, which constitutes a serious constraint on development of new varieties. The genetic base needs to be widened to maintain genetic diversity and to integrate useful traits into local cotton varieties. The linkages with international sources of cotton germplasm are weak and need to be strengthened. 6) Identification of ways and means to meet the challenges of CLCV and mealybug, and to improve fibre qualities of cotton Bollworms are an important threat to cotton production in Pakistan. But other issues, like CLCV and mealybug are equally important. Recently, these have become more serious issues in the face of relative protection from bollworms through cultivation of Bt varieties. Finding practical solutions to these threats is a challenge for Pakistani agriculture. So far our research system has not been successful in identifying cotton germplasm that is tolerant to CLCV and resistant to mealybug. Until such germplasm is identified, can the chemical products available with different Chinese companies provide an effective control? As for the mealybug, we need to examine current strategies and see how these can be improved. Also, we need to explore technological and cultural ways and means to improve fibre qualities of our cotton. 7) Developing a framework for making CRDC a dynamic and forward looking R&D company that can lead the change in cotton landscape The Government of Punjab has recently created a Cotton Research and Development Company (CRDC) as an autonomous corporate entity to oversee cotton R&D in the public sector. This is a step in the right direction, but the company struggles to find answers to questions as important as stewardship, stakeholder engagement, private sector investment, and asset management. To help CRDC, we need to deliberate on these (and other) issues and develop a comprehensive framework for its working in the long run. The framework should suggest measures to transform CRDC into a private-sector led, dynamic and progressive R&D organisation that follows a research agenda in sync with the needs of farmers. It should also be able to reach out to the farmer and bridge the gap between research and extension.


These issues will be examined by Dr. Neil Forrester during his visit to Pakistan in October 2008. Trained as an entomologist, Dr. Forrester has vast experience of resistance management for synthetic insecticides and Bt cotton. He has worked with various public and private sector research organisations (including Deltapine International) and has also served at the Board of Cotton Research and Development Corporation, Australia. Dr. Forrester will be assisted by Mr. Muhammad Ahsan Rana in carrying out this assignment. Mr. Rana has studied law, economics and sociology, and is presently a PhD candidate at The University of Melbourne. He is working on the political economy of agricultural biotechnology and is particularly interested in the policy making process concerning Bt cotton in Pakistan. As his Pakistani counterpart, Mr. Rana will assist Dr. Forrester in data collection, analysis and report writing. The two-member team will engage with a range of stakeholders including government officials (Punjab, Sindh and Federal Governments), public sector research institutions, (national and international) seed companies, ginners, textile industry and farmers. (An indicative list is attached). It will also examine the available literature and prepare a comprehensive report. Both team members will retain their freedom to publish elsewhere. Deliverables • • • A detailed report covering the issues mentioned above A presentation to the Chief Minister, Punjab on the findings and recommendations A seminar presentation to be attended by the stakeholders listed above


Appendix B Stakeholders Engaged for this Study Government officials 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. Mr. Zia ur Rehman, Secretary Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock (MINFAL), Islamabad Mr. Shahid Hussan Raja, Additional Secretary , MINFAL, Islamabad Dr. Qadir Bux Baluch, Agriculture Development Commissioner, MINFAL, Islamabad Dr. Muhammad Aslam Gill, Cotton Commissioner, MINFAL, Islamabad Dr. M E Tusneem, Member (Agriculture) Planning Commission of Pakistan, Islamabad Mr. Nazar Hussain Mehar, Additional Chief Secretary, Government of Sindh, Karachi Mr. Sabhago Khan Jatoi, Secretary Agriculture, Government of Sindh, Karachi Dr. Ibad Badar Siddique, Vice Chairman, Pakistan Central Cotton Committee (PCCC), Karachi Mr. Javed Iqbal Awan, Secretary Agriculture, Government of Punjab Dr. Mubarak Ali, Chairman, Punjab Agricultural Research Board, Lahore Dr. Noor ul Islam, CEO (designate) CRDC, Lahore Dr. Ghazanfar Ali Khan, Secretary CRDC, Lahore Mr. Hasan Raza Gardezi, CEO Neelum Seeds, Multan Mr. Shahzad A. Malik, CEO Guard Seeds, Lahore Mr. GM Avesi, Technical Manager, Guard Seeds, Lahore Mr. Attiq Cheema, General Manager Auriga Seeds, Lahore Dr. Zahoor Ahmad, Ali Akbar Seeds, Multan Ch. Muhammad Hanif, Ali Akbar Seeds, Multan Mr. Aamir Mahmood Mirza, Country Lead, Monsanto Pakistan Mr. Muhammad Asim, Technology Development Lead, Monsanto Pakistan Mr. Arshad Saeed Hussain, General Manager, Syngenta Pakistan Mr. S A Wahab Mehdi, Managing Director, Bayer CropSciences, Pakistan Mr. Muhammad Afzal, Head Market Development, Bayer CropSciences, Pakistan Mr. Munir ud Din Khan, Advisor Crop Development, FMC Mr. Sarwar Rahi, Technical Manager, FMC Dr. David Chamberlain, Consultant Ali Tareen Farms, RY Khan Dr. Kausar Abdullah Malik, former Member (Agriculture) Planning Commission of Pakistan, Lahore Dr. Aklhaq Hussain, Director General, Federal Seed Certification and Registration Department, FSC&RD, Islamabad Dr. Yusuf Zafar, Project Director, Nuclear Institute of Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (NIGAB), Islamabad Dr. Ejaz Pervez, Director General Pest Warning and Quality Control, Lahore Dr. Ghulam Mustafa, Director Entomology, ARI, Faisalabad Dr. Rao Iftikhar, Dean, AU, Faisalabad

Private seed companies

Multinational organisations

Molecular biologists, entomologists and plant breeders


33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38. 39. 40. 41. 42. 43. 44. 45. 46. 47. 48. 49. 50. 51.

Dr. Sheikh Riaz ud Din, Director, Centre of Excellence in Molecular Biology (CEMB), Lahore Dr. Tayyub Hussnain, Professor, CEMB, Lahore Dr. Idrees Ahmad Nasir, Associate Professor, CEMB, Lahore Dr. Zafar M. Khalid, Director, National Institute of Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering (NIBGE), Faisalabad Dr. Shahid Mansoor, Head Plant Biotechnology Division, NIBGE, Faisalabad Dr. Ehsan ul Haq, Director NIAB, Faisalabad Muhammad Arshad, CCRI, Multan Dr. Iqbal Bandesha, Associate Professor, Islamia University, Bahawalpur Dr. Mahboob Ali, Scientist Emeritus, ex-Director Central Cotton Research Institute, Multan Ch Waheed Sultan, former Director Cotton, Lahore Mr. Asim Nisar Bajwa, Manager Ali Tareen Farms, Lodhran Ms. Rabia Sultana, Lahore Mr. Athar Khakwani Mr. Sajid Mehdi, Vehari Ch Arshad, Khanpur Mr. Ijaz Rao, Bahawalpur Mr. Iqbal Ibrahim, Chairman All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA), Karachi Mr. Akbar Sheikh, Chairman, APTMA Lahore Mr. Tariq Mahmood, Chairman Cotton Committee, APTMA


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