India has cut royalties seed companies pay to Monsanto by 20 per cent. This is the second time in two years such a cut has been made. The first time it happened, in 2016, the US company had threatened to leave India. At that time Monsanto's royalties were cut by more than 70 per cent.
Besides cutting Monsanto's royalties, India has also lowered prices of GM cotton seeds by 7.5 per cent to help farmers struggling with pest infestations. Farmers buy GM cotton seeds from Indian seed makers who pay to use Monsanto's proprietary technology to produce them.
The National Seed Association of India (NSAI) has threatened to halt supplies to eight million cotton farmers to protest the planned move to reduce seed prices. NSAI says the new, low price would impact seed supply and seed availability this year and also next year's seed production. It says seed prices have fallen since 2011 but fuel, labor and other supply chain costs have risen. NSAI had advocated for an increase in cotton seed prices but the suggestion was ignored. Last year India kept both royalties and the retail prices of GM cotton seeds unchanged.