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7-Business: Monsanto forced to cut Bt cotton seed prices



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TITLE:  Monsanto forced to cut Bt cotton seed prices
SOURCE: The Financial Express, India, by Ashok B. Sharma
        http://www.financialexpress.com/fe_full_story.php?content_id=119549
DATE:   05 Mar 2006

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Monsanto forced to cut Bt cotton seed prices

NEW DELHI, MARCH 5:  Faced with the allegations of high prices of Bt
cotton, Mahyco Monsanto Biotech (MMB) has decided to reduce the
technology fee by 30%. From the next season, MMB's licencees would
require to pay technology fee of Rs 900 for a 450 gram pack of Bt cotton
seeds.
MMB and its licencees have 20 approved varieties of Bt cotton seeds in
the country.

MMB's senior manager, Sarita Bahl said, "This has been done with a view
to meet the market conditions. If the seed companies choose to lower
their sale prices, it will encourage more farmers to choose genuine Bt
cotton seeds instead of spurious ones."

It may be noted in context that MMB's Mech 162, Mech 184 and Mech 12 Bt
cotton varieties had failed to give the desired results in Andhra
Pradesh in 2004. The Andhra government had threatened that it would
cancel MMB's licence if the company do not adequately compensate the
farmers by the beginning of the new marketing season. The case is now
under the jurisdiction of the Andhra High Court. Sale of Mech 12 is
banned in South India.

The Andhra government has also filed a petition before the Monopolies
and Restrictive Trade Practices Commission for the high "trait value"
charged by Monsanto, which had raised the seed prices.

According to the government, the high trait value of Rs 1,250 had raised
the prices of Bt cotton seeds to Rs 1,700 (450-gm) in 2004. In 2005 the
prices shot up to Rs 1,850. The actual price should be only Rs 450.


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