Agri Business

Maharashtra: Farmers’ union to sell banned HTBT cotton seeds

Rahul Wadke Mumbai | Updated on December 27, 2019 Published on December 27, 2019

Farmers' union Shetkari Sanghatana, will mark the new year by breaking the law. On January 5, members of the union will meet at a farm near Yavatmal city, and distribute the illegally harvested second-generation Herbicide Tolerant BT (HTBT) cotton seeds.

Illegal planting of HTBT seeds is an offence under the Environment Protection Act and the Seeds Act.

The union has been spearheading a movement for getting faster approval of the HTBT cotton seeds. In May, it broke the law, and freely distributed the illegal seeds, so that the farm expenditure gets reduced.

Also read: HTBT cotton widely cultivated despite ban, finds Central team

Ajit Narde, Chief of Shetkari Sanghatana’s Technology Cell, told BusinessLine the second-generation seeds have almost the same traits as the first-generation HTBT, which are with the farmers already. These (second-generation HTBT) seeds would be distributed again to other farmers so that pressure builds upon the Centre to legalise HTBT, he said.

Also read: Clear the air on GMO

Narde said that for the last 10 years the approval of HTBT seeds has been stalled for various reasons. Indian farmers have to face global market, therefore a higher cotton productivity is the need of the hour.

In the last 15 years, the Yavatmal district in Maharashtra has seen the highest number of suicides by cotton farmers due to crop losses.

Shetkari Sanghatana, which was founded in 1979 by former civil servant Sharad Joshi, has stressed that farmers must have the freedom to access to markets and technology.

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Published on December 27, 2019
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