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Seed sector opposes control on Bt cotton seed prices
May '10
The move by the state government to control and fix prices of seeds has angered the seed production companies and they are now jointly trying to remove the controls by the government on pricing seeds.

The seed companies are of the opinion that, by imposing controls on seed pricing the government is impeding the growth of the seed manufacturing industry. They aver that, development of new seed varieties is a long and costly process.

And to compensate them for investing in the long and costly process of research and development, they need to be adequately compensated for the same, by either increasing the controlled prices or allowing free market mechanism.

They point to the fact that Bt seeds have brought a revolution in cotton production in India. Citing statistics they point to the fact that, cotton output has doubled since Bt cotton seeds were introduced way back in 2002.

The yield of other crops has virtually stagnated since the same period and on the other hand, minimum support prices (MSP) paid to the farmers too have gone up drastically, while prices of Bt cotton seeds have stayed at the same levels.

Fibre2fashion spoke exclusively with Dr Shanthu Shantharam, Executive Director of Association of Biotechnology Led Enterprises-Special Interest Group on Agriculture Biotechnology (ABLE-SIGAB), an association of leading biotech companies.

He said, “We have time and again appealed to the state government who control and decide the prices of seeds. Agricultural biotechnology R&D entails heavy investments and takes years, so in order to recover investments; we need to have sound prices, which can pay back over a period of time.”

He added by saying, “We strongly believe that, whenever the government has intervened, the business of agricultural commodities has come down drastically. In fact, if free-market mechanism is allowed, competition will help in bringing down prices.”

“The government's intervention in prices will prove to be counterproductive as farmers are actually willing to pay competitive market prices as their yields and in turn incomes have drastically increased since the introduction of Bt cotton seeds”, he concluded by saying.

Fibre2fashion News Desk - India

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