Maharashtra bans Mahyco's Bt cotton seed sales

Maharashtra, the country's second-largest producer of cotton, has barred seed major Mahyco Monsanto Biotech (Mahyco) from selling its Bt cotton seeds in the state. The Director of Inputs and Quality Control (DIQC) of the state agriculture department imposed the ban on Mahyco's Bt cotton.

Mahyco has been barred from engaging in all trade activities in Bt cotton seed, DIQC said in its final order

The DIQC invoked the 2009 Maharashtra Cotton Act under the provisions of which trade activities by the company are now illegal.

Mahyco can challenge the decision before the agriculture commissioner who is the appellate authority.

A shortage of seeds has led to trouble in the last five-six years, but no action has been taken against any seed processor so far.

Dr Sudam Adsule of DIQC said any violation could invite stern punitive action against the company. As a safeguard against the company challenging the order, it had already moved a caveat both in the Mumbai and Aurangabad benches of the Bombay High Court, he said.