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Top Bt seed companies get show cause notice from Maharashtra governmentqrcode

Jun. 7, 2011

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Jun. 7, 2011

The top Bt cotton seed companies in Maharashtra have got show cause notice from the state agriculture department for not abiding by their supply plans.

"The seed companies had promised to make seeds available before the sowing season. We have started getting complaints from the dealers about severe delays in seed supplies. Mahyco, Nuziveedu, Rasi are the biggest cotton seed suppliers in Maharashtra, which have also been given show cause notices," said SS Adsool, director agriculture (inputs and quality control).

However, MG Shembekar, vice president, National Seed Association of India has claimed that all the seed companies have supplied more than 80% of their plan schedule. "Whatever shortage of seeds, it is due to farmers' preference for perticular varieties," said Mr Shembekar.

The state agriculture department estimates the cotton acreage to go up by more than 11% from 40 lakh ha last year to 45 lakh ha this year. Less than two percent of the cotton area in the state is irrigated where early sowing of cotton by third week of May takes place.

As per the statistics with the agricultural department, cotton has been sown on 78,000 ha in the Khandesh belt comprising of Jalgaon, Dhule and Nandurbar districts in North Maharashtra bordering Gujarat.

It is estimated that the state will need 1.80 crore packets of Bt cotton seeds as about 95% of the cotton acreage in the state is now under Bt cotton cultivation. Total 83 seed companies including 22 producer-seller companies have licenses for selling Bt cotton seeds in Maharashtra.

They had reported an availability of two crore and two lakh seed packets for sale in the state. "The seed companies have supplied about 55% to 65% of their plan commitment," said Mr Adsool.

Complaints of black marketing of Bt cotton seeds has become a routine in the state in past few years. "The seed companies have taken advance booking amounts from their dealers, which they might have to return if they fail to abide by the supply plan. This point has also been brought to the notice of the seed companies in the show cause notices," said Mr Adsool.

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