After dilly-dallying for many days, the Andhra Pradesh Government has finally indicated that it is not in favour of increasing prices of Bt cottonseeds for the 2011 kharif season. The Government, however, fell short of issuing an order in this regard.

Though there is no word officially on this, reliable sources in the Government said that the State would like the seed companies to sell at the same prices they have been selling in the last few years. Bollgard-I seed was sold at Rs 650 and Bollgard-II at Rs 750 for a packet of 450 grams.

The National Seed Association of India (NSAI) and AP Seedsmen Association have been pressuring the Government to increase prices to Rs 850 and Rs 1,050 respectively. They cited the example of Rajasthan, Punjab and Gujarat Governments, which had increased prices, to support their demand. “Lack of parity could disturb the market and it might lead to smuggling of seeds and shortage,” the seed industry representatives have told Mr Damodar Rajanarasimha, the Agriculture Minister in charge.

It, however, is a surprise for the representatives to learn late in the evening that there would be no increase. “We have met him only in the afternoon and gave him a table comprising prices in all the cotton growing States,” a seed industry leader commented.

(This article was published on April 29, 2011)
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