Bt cotton seed price slashed for 2nd year
NEWDELHI: For the second straight year, the central government has cut the prices of Bt cotton — the only genetically modified (GM) crop India allows — in a move aimed at saving costs of about eight million cotton farmers, most of whom grow the transgenic variety.
The maximum sale price of Bt cotton seeds (Bollgard II variety) has been capped at ~740 a packet, a notification said.
The price before the cut was ~800. Each packet weighs 450gm.
The government has also cut the royalty or “trait value” that domestic seed companies must pay to Monsanto Mahyco Biotech (India) Ltd for using its GM technology to ~39 per packet from ~49.
The Centre began fixing cotton-seed prices in March 2016. The latest cuts come amid losses in several cotton belts, including in Maharashtra and Punjab, from pest attacks such as whitefly.
Bt cotton is grown in over 95% of India’s cotton acreage. Higher output and yield have made India the second largest grower and exporter of the fibre.
“The seed industry is unhappy over the cuts. It would leave very little margins and could result in seed shortage in the next season,” Kalyan Goswami of the National Seed Association of India said.