Chief Minister K Rosaiah on Tuesday assured the farming community that the government will not hike the price of Bt cotton seeds.
Mr Rosaiah announcement followed Information Technology Minister Komatireddy Venkata Reddy’s appeal to turn down the proposal by the National Seed Association of India (NSAI )to increase the price of Bt cotton seeds.
Acceding to the IT Minister’s request, the Chief Minister said the government will protect the interests of farmers using the seeds.
The Bt cotton seeds are genetically modified to become disease-resistant. These seeds also ensure high yield and thus generate more profit for the farmers.
Prices of single and two gene varieties of the seeds had been slashed earlier.
In 2006, the price was fixed at Rs 750 a packet and Rs 925 a packet for single and double gene varieties respectively. This was reduced to Rs 650 and Rs 750 in 2008.
NSAI claims that the pricing is unviable. According to NSAI member Dr Paresh Varma, “The current price structure of Bt cotton seeds is making it financially unviable for seed companies whose costs have gone up and returns have come down. Therefore, we want the prices to be hiked to Rs 850 and Rs 1,050 respectively for the two varieties.”