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Govt panel to fix Bt Cotton seed prices
29
Jan '16
The Central Government has constituted a nine-member committee to execute its cotton price control order that will decide the price farmers pay to seed companies.

The move by the Agriculture Ministry came on January 27 when the Delhi High Court adjourned till March 4, the hearing of a plea by Mahyco Monsanto Biotech India Pvt. Ltd (MMBL), challenging the price control order, according to a report in Livemint.com.

The committee will decide the maximum sale price (MSP) of cotton seeds, including royalty fees and dealers' margins, said an Agriculture Ministry official. It's deadline to decide on the MSP of genetically modified Bt cotton seeds is March 31, but a decision is expected earlier.

The Agriculture Ministry had issued a price control order on December 7, 2015 to bring uniformity in Bt cotton seed prices, as several states such as Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have brought in price control orders. The Ministry says the other reason for price control is make Bt cotton seeds affordable.

MMBL, a joint venture between Mahyco and Monsanto, petitioned the Delhi High Court to quash certain provisions in the price control order, specifically those allowing the centre to determine trait or royalty fees, Such fees, according to MMBL, are determined by private contracts between technology providers (MMBL) and seed companies who use the technology.

MMBL, which licenses its patented Bollgard II technology to several seed companies, said that the price control order is “illegal and unconstitutional”.

An MMBL spokesperson insisted the price control regulation is contrary to the law, and is also against the long-term interests of farmers and the government's proclamation of promoting ease of doing business and innovation. (SH)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk - India

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