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Maharashtra bans co-marketing of brands for BT cotton seeds

The Maharashtra government has decided to withdraw facility of co-marketing of brands for BT cotton seed companies. A meeting was called by the department recently where seed companies were told they will no longer be permitted to co-market BT seeds under separate brand names, Agriculture Commissioner Sachendra Pratap Singh was reported to have said, “There is no question of any opposition from the seed companies. The circular has been issued and they were called just to know about the guidelines.” This is part of the regulatory framework. The brand marketing licences of around 74 companies has been scrapped.

Until now, seed companies used to co-market the same variety under different brand names making it confusing for the farmer, he added. The government had earlier asked companies to amend their licences issued for co-marketing as per permissions granted by the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC).

Senior Officials noticed several co-marketing companies with distribution rights for a product have been found selling the product under multiple brands to attract farmers. Usually co-marketing rights are granted for a certain amount of packets. But sometimes, these companies sell more than the stipulated amount licensed to them.

There are over 150 companies in the market, which include around 65 seed companies. Usually seed companies enter into distribution arrangement with companies to widen their market reach. Selling Bt seeds that are produced in other states under different brand names is called co-marketing.