Mumbai: The Maharashtra government has appealed to seed companies to reduce prices of Bt seeds by Rs 100 per bag due to rural distress caused by hailstorms and unseasonal rains. Currently, seed companies sell a packet of 450 gram of seeds at a rate of Rs 930.
Maharashtra agriculture minister Eknath Khadse said that the government would issue a notification in this regard, if seed companies do not follow this rule volunatarily. The decision was taken at a meet chaired by Khadse and attended by Principal Secretary of Agriculture Department Sudhir Kumat, along with other officials.
"There are 104 companies which sell a 450 gram packet of Bt seeds at a rate of Rs 930 per packet. Even if the packet rate is reduced by hundred rupees, cotton farmers will benefit immensely," Khadse told reporters here.
"Farmers are financially bogged down due to drought, unseasonal rains and hailstorms. A hundred rupees will not matter much to companies but will benefit farmers immensely. If companies do not heed our request, we will have to issue a notification with punitive provisions in case of violation," he said.
Bt cotton accounts for 60 to 70 per cent of the total turnover of the rapidly growing seed industry in the country. Maharashtra has the highest area under cotton in the country and seed companies had sold around 4.5 crore packets of Bt cotton seeds last year, out of which, around one-third was sold in Maharashtra.
Prices of Bt cotton seeds have been constant for the last five years and are being controlled by state governments.