Mahyco -Monsanto Bt cotton ban :Announcement Agriculture Minister is Likely to be Short-lived
Nagpur –13th July 2012
The Maharashtra Government’s move to ban Mahyco Monsanto Bt cotton seeds which have created many problems for the agricultural community is likely to be eyewash due to very strong pro-MNC stand of Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan as Agriculture secretary Dr.Sudhir Goyal has been informing the media that the such announcement on floor of house are not the actual ban and Govt. can defer the move to ban and blacklist the Mahyco Monsanto in the state which is very unfortunate and showing the power of US MNCs in the decision making procedure, Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti chief Kishore Tiwari informed today.
‘As the move ban Mahyco was announced in the Maharashtra legislature by Agriculture Minister Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil Wednesday after company was caught in rampant black marketing its seeds and according to Maharashtra’s Minister for Agriculture, Mr Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, that the State Government was left with no other option but to cancel the company’s licence, given the nature of the complaint. He charged that the company was involved in black marketing of Bt (Bacillus Theringuesis) cotton seeds and added that an FIR was lodged against certain company officials. A few arrests have already been made, The minister further noted that the company allegedly was indulging in this “illegal business” for sometime and that the State Government “could not tolerate it any further”. But interference CMO in the matter will defer decision on 18 July meeting hence we will move against Maharashtra Govt. move protect MNCs manufacturing and marketing Bt.cotton cotton seed
“Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan is very strong supporter of all genetically modified technology and last year wrote very long letter to Indian Prime Minister urging him give official permission to Bt. brinjal for food security and he was instrumental in Bt.cotton commercial trial permission in Maharashtra as MOS PMO hence we are having little hope to move of Agriculture Minister Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil to ban Mahyco-Monsanto will be enforced this year” Tiwari added.
The matter came to light in May, when cotton farmers in Beed district were forced to pay significantly higher prices for Bt cotton seeds that Beed is a major cotton producing district. For the Kharif season, over 47,700 packets (of 450 gms each) of Mahyco 7341 Kanak variety (Bt cotton) was distributed amongst 11 distributors in the district. However, these distributors did not supply the seeds to the sub-distributors, as is the norm. Instead, they raised bogus bills on the farmers’ name and sold the seeds at a higher price to others, Accordingly, a complaint has been filed at the city police station at Beed.
MMB is a joint venture between Mahyco, Maharashtra, and Monsanto Holdings Pvt. Ltd., USA which has sub-licensed Bollgard II and Bollgard technologies to 28 Indian seed companies since 2005.
Tiwari claimed that after the commercial trials of the genetically modified seeds were started, it triggered a spate of suicides among cotton farmers, which continues unabated till date.
He alleged that the monopolistic US multinational corporation has been duping innocent farmers and demanded a ban on all the other 28 sub-licensed companies in the country.
Tiwari pointed out that though the minister has announced the ban on Mahyco-Monsanto, there is no clarity on the situation of their 28 sub-licences, and urged the government to make its stand on the issue clear immediately.
The Bt cotton seeds should be replaced by traditional Indian cotton seeds as they are much more cost-effective than the Bt varieties, are ready for plucking in just 150-160 days compared to Bt's 180-200 days, thus reducing the need for additional inputs like fertilizers, pesticides and other nutrients.
Presently, India ranks at the top in Bt.Cotton cultivation covering 126 lakh hectares, up from just four lakh hectares in the past decade or so.
However, in view of the general disadvantages plus health issues associated, we are in favour of a complete ban on all genetically modified technology in India, Tiwari said.