The government has increased prices of BG2 cotton seeds by 5%. In a notification issued, the government has stated that the prices of BG2 cotton have been fixed at Rs 767 for a 450-gm packet, a 5% rise from the previous year’s price of Rs 730 for the same. Meanwhile, the price of BG1 cotton has remained unchanged at Rs 634 for a 450-gm pack.
BG1 and BG2 cotton seeds are genetically modified seeds of cotton which resist the pest Bollguard in cotton plantations.
The Federation of Seed Industry of India (FSI) is satisfied with the government’s move. “This is less than the 10% rise we requested for, but we consider it as a good gesture by the government. The association has represented to the government that the cotton seed business is becoming unviable for the industry, and research investments in developing new hybrids have dwindled significantly. If this is not corrected immediately, it will adversely affect cotton yields and farmers’ profitability,” said the director general of Federation of Seed Industry of India (FSI).
“The textile industry has aggressive plans to grow. Cotton production has to go to the level of 5.7crore bales by 2027 from the current level of 3.7 crore. It is not possible unless we upgrade the technology in seed. Cotton yield and production have stagnated due to declining investment in breeding and lack of new technology introduction,” he added.
India has been losing its competitive streak in cotton with plateauing yield, declining farmer profits and lower export volumes, allowing other countries to gain share in the international market. Since 2011, Indian cotton export volumes have come down by 70% while Brazilian increased by 80% and African by 116% during the same period.
The association has urged the government to remove the price control completely for encouraging more investments in the introduction of modern technologies and seed varieties.