German chemical giant Bayer has re-applied to plant its genetically-modified (GM) cotton seeds in India, Krishi Jagran magazine reported government sources as saying.

Global seed company Monsanto – prior to its 2018 acquisition by Bayer – had withdrawn an application for approval from New Delhi for the GM variety Bollgard II Roundup Ready Flex (RRF) in late 2016, following a range of government measures against it, the 11 February report said.

Bayer, which paid around US$63bn for Monsanto, had resubmitted the application for Bollgard II RRF in December, according to the sources who asked not to be identified.

“Bayer has resubmitted the dossier for seeking regulatory approvals to introduce RRF in India through its local joint venture partner,” a government source familiar with the matter was quoted as saying. “Once the regulatory approval process begins, Bayer may take several years to receive final approval."

It was not clear when the approval process would start, the sources said.

“Our efforts are aimed at increasing crop productivity, doubling farmer incomes, and making Indian agriculture sustainable and globally competitive,” Bayer said in a statement.

According to farm policy experts, the GM cotton seed variety could reduce cultivation costs in India, increase crop yields, and combat the pink bollworm pest.