The Association of Biotechnology Led Enterprises (ABLE) today demanded that the government should decontrol prices of Bt cotton seeds, which may bring down the prices in the coming days through open and fair competition.
"Pricing should be fair and based on the market dynamics. The government should not have any say on this. A decontrolled regime can actually bring down the Bt cotton seed prices," ABLE Executive Council Member K K Narayanan said.
Narayanan, also the Managing Director of Bangalore-based bio-tech seed firm Metahelix Life Sciences, said that decontrolling of seed prices can inspire the manufacturers to invest further on research and development, which will help farmers to get better quality seeds, newer technologies and at competitive rates.
"Since 2006, some state governments have been controlling and reducing MRP of seeds with Bt cotton technologies, thereby exercising indirect control on technology fees resulting in significant loss of research investments and industry value erosion," he said.
"This has adversely impacted innovation and a competitive environment. A business inviability is staring in our face," Narayanan added.
He claimed that while prices of most seeds have gone up by 42-120 per cent in last four years, Bt Cotton seed prices have declined by 13 per cent for single gene technology and by 43 per cent for double gene technology.
Since the introduction of Bt Cotton, India's average seed cotton yields have gone up by over 63 per cent and bollworm control cost has become near zero contributing directly to the net income, he said.
"The use of Bt Cotton has also helped the country to become the second largest producer in the world, after China, compared to a net importer in 2001," Narayanan said.
India needs over 10,000 tonnes of cotton seeds in a year and uses 95 per cent hybrid variety of that, which are mostly Bt seeds.