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Farmers get another relief as Centre lowers price of BT cotton seeds

The move comes hours after thousands of farmers in Maharashtra protested in Mumbai seeking loan waivers, among other demands
In a farmer-centric move, the central government, after a gap of two years, lowered the retail price of BT cotton seeds by Rs 60 to Rs 740 for a 450-gramme packet. This also includes the ‘trait value’ (licence fee) of genetically modified (BT) cotton seeds for the 2018-19 crop season that has been cut by Rs 10.
A formal notification regarding the same was issued late Monday.
The current price of Bt cotton is Rs 800 for a 450-gram packet, of which Rs 49 is the ‘trait fee’, including taxes. The trait fee is what seed companies have to pay to the licence holder. In this case, it is global giant Monsanto’s joint venture partner in this country — Mahyco Monsanto Biotech (MMBL).
The order comes hours after thousands of farmers in Maharashtra laid seize in Mumbai demanding loan waivers and compensation for crop damage.Cotton is majorly grown in Maharashtra and witnessed low productivity this year due to pest attack.
A drop in the retail price of Bt cotton seed prices might impact the profitability of seed companies that had written to the Centre to raise prices or else they would find it difficult to supply cotton seed to farmers in 2018-19.
Bt cotton seed prices were first lowered in 2016 by a panel constituted by the Centre under the Cotton Seeds Price Control Order of December 2015.
Brought down from Rs 830-1,030 earlier; trait value was lowered about 70 per cent, from Rs 163 a packet.
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