Mahyco may lose license to sell Bt seeds in Maharashtra

http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/agri-biz/article3631912.ece?homepage=true&ref=wl_home
RAHUL WADKE
SOILED FIBRE

MUMBAI, JULY 12:
Agriculture seed major Mahyco, which has been accused of black marketing its seeds and distributing it without informing the State Government, could well stand to lose its license to sell seeds in Maharashtra.

Maharashtra’s Minister for Agriculture, Mr Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil, told Business Line that the State Government was left with no other option but to cancel the company’s licence, given the nature of the complaint. He charged that the company was involved in black marketing of Bt (Bacillus Theringuesis) cotton seeds and added that an FIR was lodged against certain company officials.

A few arrests have already been made, he said. The matter was discussed in the Assembly.

The minister further noted that the company allegedly was indulging in this “illegal business” for sometime and that the State Government “could not tolerate it any further”. A final decision regarding the cancellation of license is to be taken on July 18, when the company would be given a hearing at the Agriculture Commissioner office, he added.

The matter came to light in May, when cotton farmers in Beed district were forced to pay significantly higher prices for Bt cotton seeds. MLA Mr Uttamrao Dhikale of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena brought this matter to the attention of the House.

Mr Dhikale, moving a calling attention notice, pointed out that Beed is a major cotton producing district. For the Kharif season, over 47,700 packets (of 450 gms each) of Mahyco 7341 Kanak variety (Bt cotton) was distributed amongst 11 distributors in the district.

However, these distributors did not supply the seeds to the sub-distributors, as is the norm. Instead, they raised bogus bills on the farmers’ name and sold the seeds at a higher price to others, Mr Dhikale added. The MLA has urged the government to initiate a CID probe into the matter.

Replying to the notice, in a written statement, the Agriculture Minister, Mr Patil, said that 10 distributors had resold the seeds directly to the farmers, without informing the Agriculture Department officials. He told the Assembly that it was now clear that Mahyco had resold the seeds with an intention to commit crime. Accordingly, a complaint has been filed at the city police station at Beed.

rahulw@thehindu.co.in

Mahyco’s clarification on the story ‘A Decade of Bt Hype’ carried on Agrarian Crisis

 

April 18, 2012

To,

The Editor,

Indian Agrarian Crisis

Secunderabad.

This is with reference to your story titled ‘A decade of Bt hype’ that published in your site http://agrariancrisis.in  on April 17, 2012.

We would like to bring to your notice that the first paragraph of your story mentions that Mahyco is an Indian subsidiary of Monsanto which is factually incorrect. Mahyco is not an Indian subsidiary of Monsanto. Monsanto only has a minority stake of 26% in Mahyco. We feel that an error of this nature are detrimental to Mahyco’s business as it is a reputed Indian company.

I am sure you will appreciate the sensitivity involved and publish the correction at the earliest.

Thanks and regards,

Suryakant Mishra

Head – PR,

Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Company Limited (Mahyco)

Dear Dr. G. V. Ramanjaneyulu,

Please find below the response from Mahyco for your story on ‘A decade of Bt hype’ published in your site.

Hope you will be able to carry the same at the earliest.

Thanks and regards,

Farooque

The PRactice

+91-9323671307

——————-

 

Farooque Shaikh 

T : +91 22 30008371-99 M: +91-9323671307   www.the-practice.net

Maharashtra to blacklist Mahyco

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.

Mahyco defends action in Bt brinjal trials

BS Reporter / Chennai/ Bangalore August 17, 2011, 0:33 IST

Seed company, Mahyco has clarified it has not violated any provision of the Biological Diversity Act, 2002, in its research to develop Bt Brinjal.

Recently, the National Biodiversity Authority of India (NBA) had recommended legal action against Mahyco and Monsanto for violating the biodiversity protection law in promoting Bt Brinjal. “Mahyco has not indulged in any activity which would be a violation of the Biological Diversity Act, 2002,” a company statement said.

In a resolution at its meeting on June 20, the NBA had decided to initiate legal action against Mahyco/Monsanto and their collaborators for using the local brinjal varities in developing Bt brinjal without a prior approval of the competent authorities, the Environment Support Group (ESG) said in a statement here, quoting from the resolution released on Thursday last in New Delhi.

The NBA decision was based on a complaint filed by ESG with the Karnataka Biodiversity Board on February 15, 2011.

“The state board investigated the matter and informed NBA on May 28 that six local varieties for developing Bt Brinjal were accessed in the state by the two companies without prior approval,” the statement said.

The board also recommended legal action against the University of Agricultural Sciences at Dharwad in north Karnataka, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University in Coimbatore, and Sathguru Management Consultants Ltd, representing the consortium involving the United States Agency for International Development and US’ Cornell University for collaborating with the seed firms in violation of the Biological Diversity Act (section 4).

The Bangalore-based ESG accused the agencies of illegally accessing 10 varieties of brinjal in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu without the consent of the regulatory boards although it was mandatory to protect the loss of biodiversity from contamination when transgencis are involved.

In addition, the law mandates that when biodiversity is to be accessed in any manner for commercial, research and other uses, local communities who have protected local varieties and have been cultivating for generations must be consulted, and if they consent, benefits must accrue to them as per the internationally applicable ‘Access and Benefit Sharing Protocol’.

The environmental release of the first ever Genetically Modified Food (Bt Brinjal — eggplant) in India, promoted by Mahyco (an Indian subsidiary of US-based Monsanto), was stayed by a February 2011 moratorium decision on the product’s environmental and commercial release by the then Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh. This decision was the outcome of public opinion gathered in a series of nation-wide public consultations that he held and was also based on a variety of scientific evidence and legal analysis.

Maharashtra agriculture minister warns black listing of Mahyco

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.

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/agriculture/maharashtra-agriculture-minister-warns-black-listing-of-mahyco/articleshow/9026993.cms