PUNE: Maharashtra agriculture minister Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil said that his government is considering black listing Mahyco company for severe irregularities in sale of seeds, especially the Bt cotton seeds.
The state government has also issued written instructions to big fertiliser companies like RCF, Zuari and Dipak Fertilisers for linking sale of their other agricultural inputs with the fertiliser sale. Mahyco has denied the charges of the agriculture minister.
“Mahyco produces its seeds in this state. Yet there are so many complaints against them from the farmers and the delears. We have already filed an FIR against the company and may even suspend their license to sale seeds in the state and black list the company in Maharashtra,” said Mr Vikhe Patil.
He added, “As against their contractual agreement to sale 16.5 lakh packets of Bt seeds, they have sold only 1.91 lakh packets, which is only 11.40% of their contractual commitment. This is cheating of farmers and the government.”
Mahyco has however denied the charges of the agriculture department. “We have given an undertaking and promised the government of Maharashtra to provide 10.56 lakh packets of various hybrids of Bt cotton seeds for the Kharif 2011 season. As of date Mahyco has supplied 10.77 lakh packets against the agreed quantity in the districts of Maharashtra. The seed supply has exceeded the quantities indicated in the affidavit filed with the department of Agriculture. Hence, there is no breach of undertaking by the company as given to the department of agriculture,” said the company in its reply.
Maharashtra farmers have been facing severe fertiliser and seeds shortage from past two to three years. The common problem is of linking the fertiliser sale with sale of other inputs like seeds, pesticides etc. Thus, if a farmer wants to buy specific seed of specific company, he is compelled to purchase also the other inputs of the same companies.
Mr Vikhe-Patil said, “We have complaints of linking against Zuari Industries , Dipak Fertilisers and RCF. The companies blame it on the dealers. So we have now asked the companies to take actions against the dealers to which they have agreed.”
The agricultural department has already sealed fertilisers worth Rs 24 crore of the Dipak Fertilisers company in Pune. “We have issued stop sale notice to Dipak Fertilisers for the sealed quantity of fertilisers as some of the quantity was meant for linking purpose,” said Mr Vikhe Patil.
Meanwhile, though the farmers have collected inputs after facing much hardships, the state is lagging behind in sowing as compared to the normal sowing schedule.
As against 28% overall sowing excluding sugar cane till June 27, last year, only 9% sowing has been done during the comparable period this year. But 41% talukas, mostly in Vidarbha and Marathwada in the state have received less than 60% rainfall. As a result the sowing of pulses, cotton and soyabean is lagging behind last year’s sowing rate. Maharashtra has highest acreage of cotton and second highest acreage of soyabean and pulses.