Govt rethinks on capping price of Bt cotton seeds

Govt rethinks on capping price of Bt cotton seeds

Govt rethinks on capping price of Bt cotton seeds

Under pressure from the seed industry, the NDA government now plans to have wider consultation with seed manufacturers before taking a decision on the capping of the prices of genetically modified Bt cotton seeds.

The rethinking comes three months after issuing a controversial gazette notification that armed the government with powers to intervene in the seed market to fix the prices of Bt cotton seeds – the genetically engineered cotton crop cultivated all over the country.

Facing sharp criticism, the Union agriculture ministry withdrew the notification, but later put out the same as a draft proposal seeking public comments.

The ministry is now evaluating public opinion and will consult all stakeholders before finalising the guidelines, sources said.

With the ministry set to debate the prices of Bt cotton seeds, as many as 10 Indian firms have teamed up to put up an unified front to take on the government.

Bayer, Dow Agro, Dupont Pioneer, Mahyco, Metahelix, Monsanto, Namdhari, Rasi Seeds, Shriram Bioseeds and Syngenta have joined hands earlier this week to form the Federation of Seed Industry of India. Together these companies constitute more than 30% of India's GM seed market.

Several companies felt the government’s plan to control cotton seed prices was a retrograde step, which would destroy the industry.