The Karnataka government has banned the sale of Mahyco’s BT and hybrid seeds in the state, following reports of their failure. According to a release here today, crops in seven districts had failed causing huge losses to cotton growers. Following this, affected farmers, who had sown Mahyco’s seeds, complained to the Department of Agriculture and a survey established that crops had failed owing to the substandard quality of seeds of the Maharashtra-based seed company. Following this, the department has issued a notification banning the sale of Mahyco BT and hybrid seeds with immediate affect in the state. The joint director of agriculture in Mysore has instructed the distributors and sellers not to market the company’s seeds. Legal action will be taken if anyone is found selling them, he warned, advising farmers not to use Mahyco’s BT seeds. The company reportedly made available its BT seeds to farmers last year.
Farmers had cultivated the commercial crop during the Kharif season on about 510,000 acres. However, it failed to yield the expected yield wherever the company’s BT seeds had been sown. A leading commercial crop of Karnataka, cotton is generally grown in rain-dependent areas of the state. Growers had cultivated the crop using Mahyco’s MRC-7351 and Nikkiplus BT seeds and saplings on 139 hectares and 12,000 hectares, respectively. However, they did not give the expected yield, resulting in a huge losses to those who had cultivated the commercial crop, over which they mainly depend, it is reported. Cotton growers in Haveri, Belgaum, Davanagere, Chitradurga, Dharwad, Bellary and Gadag districts had taken to cultivation using Mahyco’s BT seeds and saplings. It may be recalled, when Chief Minister Siddaramaiah visited the ‘Krishi Mela’ organised by the University of Agricultural Sciences in Dharwad, the affected farmers held a dharna demanding action against the company. Following this, a committee of agricultural experts headed by the Deputy Commissioner was formed by the Agriculture Department to submit a report after examining the complaints of farmers.