The government has reduced the cost of Bt cotton seed to help the farmers who suffered losses due to pest attack on cotton crop. This step has been opposed by the Indian unit of the Monsanto. However, farmers are happy with this decision.
The price of 450 gm of packaged cotton seeds of Bollgard II variety has been reduced by 7.5% to Rs 740. It involves lowering the trait value from Rs 49 to Rs 39. Seed companies pay the trait value to the Monsanto Biotech (India), which provides technology solutions.
There has been no change in the price of Seed’s Bollgard I Variety. Its packet price is up to Rs 635. No trait value is recovered for this. Farmers will initiate sowing cotton in June for Kharif season
Cotton Seed Associations was demanding an increase in seed prices from the government. These associations say that due to the price reduction, it will be difficult for them to run the business and the supply will have an impact.
At present India is the largest producer of cotton around the globe. About 8 Million farmers of the country buy about 5 Crore seed packets each year of 450 grams each. Cotton is cultivated on 1.22 crore hectares of land in India.
The government had fixed the limit of Bt cotton seed prices in 2016. This caused a blow to the American company Monsanto and imposed restrictions on the tariff value or technology fees and warned the Indian government to restructure its business plan and stop the new implementation. There was no change in the price of cottonseed in 2017.
National Seed Association of India Director General Kalyan Goswami said that this move of the government will affect seed supply this year. He said, “In the next year production of seed will also be impacted. It may be that many seed companies won’t produce seed this year. Some of our members are also considering filing petitions in the court against the price of seed without any misconduct.”