Bt cot­ton seed price slashed for 2nd year

Hindustan Times (Amritsar) - - Nation - Zia Haq zia.haq@htlive.com ■

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.

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