Indian seed companies threatened … to halt supplies to 8 million cotton farmers in protest against a potential government plan to cut prices by 7.5 per cent, the chief of a producers’ body said.
New Delhi is likely to lower the price of genetically modified (GM) cotton seeds by 7.5 per cent to 740 rupees ($11) for 450 grams of seeds to help farmers whose fields have been ravaged by pests.
Other than cutting the prices of GM cotton seeds, India is likely to impose another cut to Monsanto Co’s royalties paid by domestic companies for its GM cotton seeds.
The latest reduction risks another row with the US company, the world’s biggest seed maker, which threatened to leave India in 2016 when the government cut its royalties by more than 70 per cent.
In 2017/18 India’s cotton output is set to rise by 9.3 per cent but still short of the record high predicted by industry analysts because boll worm caused damage in some regions.
New Delhi approved the first GM cotton seed trait in 2003 and an upgraded variety in 2006, helping to transform the country into the world’s top producer of the fibre.
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