Business Standard

Remove royalty on BG-II cotton seeds: SJM


Press Trust of India New Delhi
The RSS-affiliated Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM) has requested the government to remove Rs 49 royalty on genetically modified (Bt) cotton seeds, using Bollgard-II (BG-II) technology of the US seed major Monsanto.

In a letter to the Joint Secretary (Seeds), Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare, Ashwani Kumar, national co-convenor of the SJM Ashwani Mahaja said that the BT-II trait for which the government had fixed Rs 49 as trait value or royalty in 2016 and 2017 has become ineffective from 2015 itself.

"I request you to correct the mistakes done in the past by removing the trait value (royalty) for BG-II and reduce the MSP of Bt cotton seeds to the farmers.

"As you are aware, based on the recommendations of the CICR (Central Institute for Cotton Research), farmers are compelled to use expensive pesticides to control the Pink Bollworm (PBW) and are facing severe losses. The act of reducing the MSP of Bt cotton seeds would give some relief to the farmers," he said in his letter yesterday..

He further alleged that the trait developers have also been misguiding the government about the "magic increase" in cotton productivity which he said was "false propaganda" only to cover up the failures of Bt cotton and justify the collection of Rs 8000 crore in the form of exorbitant trait value.

"From the published data of the Ministry of Agriculture, it is very clear that the cotton productivity hovered only between 450 kg to 500 kg in the period starting from 2007 till 2018. The BT cotton area was only 15 per cent of the total cotton planted in 2006 whereas it is 95 per cent over the last 7-8 years," Mahajan said.

The Swadeshi Jagran Manch leader also said that the government should not encourage monopoly of Mahyco-Monsanto Biotech Limited (MMBL) by keeping the seed value of BG-I seeds low while being fully aware of the fact that the cost of production of BG-I seeds cannot be lower as compared to BG-II seeds.

"The differential pricing between BG-I and BG-II is encouraging the monopoly of MMBL as nobody would produce BG-I seeds and incur loss. Due to this the farmers are suffering as BG-I seeds are not available in the market and they are compelled to buy only BG-II seeds thereby paying Rs 49 extra and thereby benefitting MMBL", he said, requesting to keep the same seed value for both BG-I and BG-II seeds.

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First Published: Feb 28 2018 | 10:55 AM IST

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