Source: The Hindu Businessline

Govt-constituted panel recommends Rs.60 cut per seed packet of 450 gm


The price of cottonseed with Bollgard-II is set to be reduced from Rs.800 last season to Rs.740 for a packet of 450 gm. The panel set up by the Centre to recommend cottonseed prices for the upcoming kharif season has felt that the BG-II seed needs to be sold at a lower price point.

Royalty fee cut

The reduction will happen on two components — while for dealers and seed producing firms there will be a drop of Rs.50, the Mahyco Monsanto Biotech Limited will take a reduction of Rs.10 in the trait value. The trait value or royaltee fee will now be reduced to Rs.39 from Rs.49. This is the third meeting of the panel which was formed after the government decided to regulate the price through the Cottonseeds Price (Control) Order, 2015.

While the first meeting two years ago reduced the trait value to Rs.49 from Rs.130, the second meeting had left the prices unchanged. The recommendations of the panel are generally accepted by the government. Seed producers unhappy B Sugunakar Rao, a farmer’s representative in the panel, said that the State governments have been asked to ensure a payment of Rs.330 for seed producers from the total price of Rs.740. “The panel has recommended a reduction of research and development costs to Rs.20 from Rs.30, dealer margin to Rs.60 from Rs.75,” he said.

The National Seed Association of India (NSAI) is upset over the move to reduce the price of cottonseed with Bollgard-II technology. It said any reduction in the price will harm the seed industry. The price of Bollgard-I cottonseed remains untouched at Rs.635 a packet. Companies have stopped producing BG-I seeds as there are no takers for the first generation biotech seed after the advent of BG-II.

The NSAI had demanded for removal of royalty (on Bollgard-II), arguing that the technology has lot its efficacy over three seasons ago. “This price is not viable. Many companies may not be able to produce seeds in future at this price,” NSAI President M Prabhakara Rao told Business Line.

Rising input costs

The association said that the seed price has remained stagnant for over seven years. “In fact, it has come down in the last two years as cost of production is going up,” he said. “There is not much difference in the cost of production on BG-I and BG-II. Reduction of non-royalty component of the price would impact the seed producers,” he said. (Source: The Hindu Businessline)