Govt fixes maximum retail prices for Bt cotton seed across the country

The central government on Wednesday notified the maximum sale price of Bt hybrid cotton seed at Rs800 per packet (450 grams) for the BG-II version and Rs635 per packet for the BG-I version, including its trait value and applicable taxes.

The MRP is on hybrid cotton seed packets (450 grams of Bt Cotton plus 120 grams refugia) for the financial year 2016-17 and would be applicable for the whole of India, the agriculture ministry stated.

Union minister for agriculture and farmers' welfare Radha Mohan Singh also called for uniformity in the price of cotton seed supplied to farmers in the various cotton-growing states even as he said both public and private sectors have a role in the supply of quality seeds.

He said, the government has fixed the maximum price that seed companies can charge farmers for their seeds on the basis of recommendations of a nine-member committee set up to recommend the maximum sale price of Bt cotton seeds and after taking into consideration the seed value, licence fees, including one-time and recurring royalty (trait value), trade margins and other taxes.

The government on Wednesday declared the maximum sale price of Bt cotton seed packets (450 grams of Bt Cotton plus 120 grams refugia) based on the component value for the financial year 2016-17 for the whole of India.

The Rs800 per packet MRP for BG-II version of Bt cotton hybrid includes base price of Rs751 and trait value including taxes of Rs49.

The Rs635 MRP for BG-I version of Bt Cotton hybrid includes no trait value.

''As there was no uniformity in pricing of Bt cotton seeds across the country, the central government has recently intervened and issued a Cotton Seed Price (Control) Order, 2015, to fix a uniform price of Bt cotton seed across the states in the country for the benefit of farmers," the minister stated.

The minister, however, emphasized that both the public and private sectors have a role in the supply of quality seeds, including Bt cotton, to farmers.

''The licensing of Bt cotton seeds by Mahyco Monsanto to 50 companies is an example of the private sector's role in the production and supply of such seeds,'' the minister pointed out.

"In order to safeguard the interests of the farming community, this department issued the Cotton Seed Price (Control) Order, 2015, under section 3 of the Essential Commodities Act, 1955, to regulate Bt cotton seed prices,'' Singh said, adding, "Some state governments had also passed legislations to ensure supply of Bt cotton seeds to farmers."

He said the agriculture ministry has also referred the issue of high seed prices to the Competition Commission of India (CCI) for investigation of dominance of MMBL and abuse of monopoly in Bt cotton technology.