State bats for uniform Bt cotton seed price

MOGA: The state government has asked the Centre to fix uniform rates of Bt cotton seed for all states to end the practice of selling the genetically modified seed by private firms at different rates.

Tribune News Service

Moga, March 6

The state government has asked the Centre to fix uniform rates of Bt cotton seed for all states to end the practice of selling the genetically modified seed by private firms at different rates.

State Agriculture Minister Tota Singh said: “A uniform price is in the interest of the farmers. The Centre must also lower the rates keeping in view of the losses suffered by the cotton growers due to white fly attack last year.”

The Centre is likely to fix the rates by the end of this month. The companies will begin the sale of seed from April 1 onwards. The sowing of cotton begins in the last week of April in Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan.

A 450 gm packet of Bt cotton seed is sold for Rs830 in Maharashtra, Rs930 in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telengana, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu and Rs1,000-Rs1,100 in Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan. The trait fee (royalty fee) is Rs163 per 450 gm packet.

The Centre had constituted a committee to recommend a uniform price for the seed for the current year. The committee has suggested a price of Rs800 per 450 gm, which includes Rs49 as trait fee. But a final call on the recommendations is likely to be taken up by the Centre in the next couple of weeks.

“We hope that the Centre will take a considerate view on fixing the maximum sale price of genetically modified cotton seed keeping in view the interests of farmers,” Tota Singh said.

Earlier, the price of cotton seed, including Bt cotton, was fixed by the state governments. The Union Agriculture Ministry, on December 7, 2015, issued a price control order to bring uniformity in seed prices as many states such as Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh brought in their own price control orders.

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