1. Agriculture World

FSII and NSAI urge government to take action against illegal cultivation of HT-Bt cotton

Chintu Das
Chintu Das
HT-Bt Cotton

The Federation of Seed Industry of India (FSII) and the National Seed Association of India (NSAI) requested the Centre on Friday to intervene in the country's rapid increase in illicit herbicide-tolerant (HT) Bt cotton cultivation this year. 

It added in a statement that if the selling of unlicensed HT-BT cotton seed is not banned, it will be disastrous for the industry and farmers. 

According to the NSAI, regulators only inspect licensed dealers and seed producers, while most unlawful HT seed sales are carried out by unorganized and fly-by-night operators. The emphasis must be turned to catching them and enforcing exemplary and severe penalties. 

It said that seed industry associations had made representations to the Union Agriculture and Environment Ministries in this regard, requesting quick action. 

"It's been cultivated at a reduced intensity in major cotton-growing areas for several years, but the sale has unexpectedly increased this year, posing a serious threat to the environment, farmers, legitimate seed firms, and government revenue," the industry associations stated. 

According to the FSII and the NSAI, the matter was first highlighted in Parliament in 2017, after which the Prime Minister's Office established the Field Inspection and Scientific Evaluation Committee (FISEC) under the Department of Biotechnology (DBT). 

HT Bt cotton is illegally produced across the country, according to this committee. After examining thousands of samples, the FISEC panel concluded that Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Gujarat had roughly 15% prevalence of unauthorized HT Bt cotton. 

"Over the years, the area under cultivation of illegal HT cotton has increased, but this year there has been a significant increase in such illegal cultivation, particularly in the major cotton states, from an estimated 35 lakh packets last year to around 70 lakh packets this year," FSII chairman M Ramasami said. 

"If it is not regulated promptly by the governments, it will spell disaster for the industry and farmers," he said. The packs demonstrate the presence of numerous technologies that might pose a very catastrophic situation in the field. 

"It will not only crush tiny cotton seed enterprises, but it will also undermine the entire legal cotton seed market in India," warned NSAI President Prabhakar Rao. 

To make matters worse, the unlicensed seeds are marketed under the names of well-known corporations. Farmers are at danger as a result of illegal cotton seed sales because there is no guarantee of seed quality, according to him. 

Such unlawful seed pollutes the environment, deprives the industry of legitimate seed sales, and deprives the government of tax money, he noted. 

The distribution of illegal seeds has the potential to contaminate legitimate seed production, resulting in significant losses for seed producers, according to industry bodies. 

Like this article?

Hey! I am Chintu Das. Did you liked this article and have suggestions to improve this article? Mail me your suggestions and feedback.

Share your comments

Subscribe to our Newsletter. You choose the topics of your interest and we'll send you handpicked news and latest updates based on your choice.

Subscribe Newsletters