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Giving some relief to farmers burdened with high production costs, the seed industry today decided to cut retail prices of hybrid seeds, excluding cotton, by 10 per cent from June 19 through the ensuing 2017- 18 kharif season. The decision in this regard was taken at a meeting called by Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh here today to reduce voluntarily the seed prices. "We appealed to the seed industry to bring down the prices of hybrid seeds in the interest of farmers. They have agreed to do so," Singh told PTI after the meeting. Later, he tweeted, "I appreciate the seed industry for making collective decision in favour of farmers by reducing hybrid seeds MRP by 10%." Elaborating on the decision, National Seed Association President M Prabhakar Rao said the minister shared that there is a distress among farmers due to low profitability in agriculture and they appealed to us to bring down seed prices. "The industry after consultation agreed to make arrangements for sale of hybrid seeds at prices 10 per cent below MRP as printed on seed packet effective from June 19," he said. However, the new rates will not be applicable on cotton seeds which are already regulated by the government. Retail prices of hybrid seeds range between Rs 300 to Rs 500 per kg. Hybrids seeds are sold in crops like corn, rice, bajra, mustard and vegetables. Asked if the price cut on seeds will be for the whole year, Rao said, "At this point of time, we are deciding it for kharif season.
We will review for rabi season later." The dealers will be communicated so that the new rates are implemented smoothly from Monday. Besides the National Seeds Association, representatives from the Federation of Seed Industry of India (FSII) were present in the meeting. Global seed firms Monsanto, Bayer and Sygental are members of FSII. More than 80 per cent of seeds sown are hybrids in the country. The size of hybrid market is about Rs 6,000 crore.