NEW DELHI: Cotton seed manufacturers want the government to immediately announce the revised price of BT Cotton seed, so that there is no shortage of the seed in Punjab and Haryana where the planting season begins in a fortnight.
Seed manufactures have sought a 10% increase in seed price because of rising input cost.
Meanwhile, Agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar, in a written reply in Lok Sabha, has stated that the government would write off trait value charged from farmers for BT cotton variety of Bollgard -II (BG-II).
“Yes Sir, in order to ensure the availability of the Bt cotton seed to farmers at fair, reasonable and affordable prices and curtail the charging of exorbitant price,” he stated in the Lok Sabha.
Every year government fixes price of BT Cotton taking into account the trait value, seed value, trade margin and other factors. The price of Bollgard-II (BG-II) cotton seed in 2019 was fixed at Rs 730 per packet of 450 gram including Rs 20 as trait value.
Both the National Seed Association of India (NSAI) and Federation of Seed Industry of India (FSII) said that they were waiting for an official notification of the government on waiving of the trait fee and the new prices for the 2020-21 cotton season.
“Monsanto has been claiming patent rights on Bt Cotton seed. As the patent expired, the government is bound not to consider any trait value. In our representation the government we have asked for increase of seed value from Rs 710 to Rs 780 per 450 gram packet,” said NSAI president M Prabhakar Rao.
Meanwhile, Ram Kaundinya, director general, FSII said that seed prices should include the trait value and seed cost should increase by 10% to Rs 803 per 450 gm packet to offset the cost of seed production.
Kaundinya said that they were waiting for the government to announce the new prices as the planting season was around the corner.
According to agriculture ministry, the government has not received any communication from seed firms ascertaining that BG-II has proven to be ineffective in the last season as the pink bollworm has developed resistance to the technology indicating that the government will continue with BG-II.
“The government research body ICAR believes the technology is still good and is effective against American bollworm and spotted bollworm. For this reason, farmers are cultivating Bt cotton in more than 87 per cent of cotton area,” an official said.