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Gujarat Govt essays to scale down prices of Bt cotton seeds
08
May '08
Gujarat may follow the directions led by Andhra Pradesh Government to reduce the prices of Bt cotton seeds.

Industrial sources disclosed that there was a wide gap between the purchasing and selling price of the seeds. While the seeds were bought from Monsanto (Foreign Bt cotton producing company) at the rate of about Rs125 per packet, they are sold at prices varying from Rs750-925 per packet including Rs150 paid to the international company as royalty.

This vast difference being an eye-opener to the farmers, have forced them to avoid buying Bt cotton seeds unless some measure are taken to bring down the exorbitant prices.

Nearly 23 companies involved in the sale of Bt cotton were asked by the Government of Gujarat to reduce royalty amount and provide details with regard to the production cost of these seeds.

The companies however, evaded the call of the Government and have not complied to the order of lowering the prices of Bt cotton. Faced with such defiant attitude, the Government has decided to arrive at a conclusion in favor of the farmers.

Already, two meetings have been conducted with the companies to reach a final decision but all in vain. These seed supplying firms have demanded more time.

Prices for the seeds had been reduced even in 2006 by Andhra Pradesh after which Gujarat and other states followed the example.

Prices of Ballgard II variety have been lowered once again by Andhra Pradesh arousing dispute between the State Court and Monsanto. The former however, succeeded in proving its point and rejected the company's petition.

Gujarat is the largest buyers of Bt cotton seeds consuming some 60-70 percent of the total supplies. Now, it is up to Gujarat to either adopt a similar measure for protecting the rights of its farmers or to let the situation go out of control.

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