Farmers to Pay 25 percent More for Bt Seeds in Gujarat
Indian government officials have announced a 25 percent increase in the price of Bt cotton seeds, the first such increase made in Gujarat since 2008.
April 28, 2011
Gujarat cotton growers who are interested in planting genetically modified cotton in the coming season are going to have to pay a bigger price than they thought, now that the state’s government has raised prices on Bollgard, Bollgard-II and other Bt cotton seeds.
Government officials said in an April 25 statement that the price increase (25 percent, on average) was necessary due to inflation, a higher cost of production, and other factors related to seed cultivation. They also want to keep prices high enough to keep seed cultivators interested and ensure they remain in business.
The price (per 450-gram packet of seed) of Bollgard-I has risen from 650 rupees to 830, while Bollgard-II has been increased from 750 rupees to 930. There hasn’t been a Bt seed price increase in Gujarat since 2008, and in that same year, the state government forced seed companies to reduce prices by almost 38 percent, from 1,200 rupees to 750 rupees per packet.
Earlier this year, Cotton International reported about concerns that India would not have enough Bt seeds to meet the demands of growers, especially as cotton prices remain at historically high levels. Recently, growers in Mysore--the second-largest city in the state of Karnataka--were shocked when seed merchants told them cotton seed prices had gone up, if any could be found at all. The farmers are extremely anxious to get seeds because recent rainfall has made for ideal planting conditions. Karnataka, however, gets its cotton seeds from Andhra Pradesh, and those shipments have been blocked as seed merchants seek a price increase from government officials.