Agri Business

Mahyco Monsanto Biotech challenges Centre’s move to regulate cottonseed price

KV Kurmanath Hyderabad | Updated on January 22, 2018 Published on December 29, 2015


Trade body says hybrids play a key role and seed firms deserve a better share in profits

Mahyco Monsanto Biotech India Ltd (MMB India), which provides biotechnology to cottonseed companies, has recently moved the Delhi High Court challenging the government notification that seeks to regulate the cottonseed price.

It has questioned the government’s move to fix the Maximum Sale Price, trait value and keep tabs on the trade agreements with the seed firms.

“By fixing the terms and conditions of licence, the government is bypassing the processes of the Patent Act,” the petition said.

It said the notification would infringe on its freedom to contract in a fair market environment.

Seed association stand

Ending a decade-long row between MMB India, seed firms and State governments, the Centre issued a Gazette notification early this month, announcing that it would fix the Maximum Sale Price, including the trait value.

Meanwhile, the National Seed Association of India (NSAI), which represents the seed producing companies that take Monsanto’s Bt technology from MMB India under sub-licences, has completely backed the government’s move to settle the issue once for all.

There were a number of cases in High Courts of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana that sought to resolve the pricing issue.

“Monsanto’s claim that biotechnology solution has resulted in enormous benefit to farmers is partial true. No technology is good unless you have a good, vibrant hybrid. Seed firms spend a lot of funds and energies on developing good hybrids. If technology is the only formula for seed’s success, every seed must give good results. It is not the case,” NSAI President M Prabhakara Rao told BusinessLine.

Only a few hybrids embedded with the Bt technology hold the majority of the market share.

That the seeds of the two firms that sell technology have a market share of only 10 per cent share shows that technology is not the only trigger for success of a seed.

Equality in profits

“While hybrids also play a major role, MMB India is taking a majority in profits. We too deserve a better share. We have been demanding for this for a long time and the Centre’s notification seeks to address this issue well. We fully support the government’s move to regulate the prices,” he said. The Centre’s notification said a national level committee would be set up with representatives from stakeholders to fix the price from time to time, well before the season begins.

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Published on December 29, 2015
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