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NSAI, the seed body wants price hike

The National Seed Association of India (NSAI) wants the maximum sale price (MSP) of genetically modified (GM) Bt cotton seed to be raised by Rs 75 per packet and a premium of Rs 100 per packet to be imposed for a period of three years on new cotton hybrids, as an incentive for companies to invest in research and development.

NSAI feels that a notification of only Rs 751 as seed value for BG-II leaves the companies without sufficient profit margins to invest in R&D, particularly on BG-II. It feels that insisting on a no-objection certificate from technology providers like Monsanto for commercial release of BT cotton seeds every season should be done away with. Seed companies have suggested that the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee could give approval for commercial release of BT cotton seeds if it is satisfied with the results of testing done by public sector labs to ascertain the elements present in such seeds.

In 2006, the GEAC had made an NOC from trait providers mandatory for marketing of BT cotton seeds. About 90 per cent of India’s cotton area of 11.8 million hectares in the 2015-16 seasons is under BT cover. Domestic cotton production has raised manifold since the introduction of BT seeds — from 13.6 million bales in 2002-03 to a projected 30.5 million bales in 2015-16.