Agri-biotechnology Agriculture Policy

No Need For Compulsory Licensing; Ag Min Should Only Prescribe Procedure for Fixing GM Trait Value, says NSAI

Speakers at a conference IPRs and GM traits on August 26, Delhi, organized by   National Seed Association of India. Photo by Vivian Fernandes

Kalyan Goswami, Executive Director of the National Seed Association of India explains the crux of its demands on use of proprietary GM traits.


Audience at the NSAI event.

We strongly feel that in the proposed guidelines (for use of proprietary) transgenic or GM traits, there is no need of prescribing compulsory licensing or a format for licensing.  The guidelines will have to prescribe only a procedure and method of arriving at the trait value as provided under Section 26 of the Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights (PPVFR) Act, in seeds that carry the (transgenic) trait.  The trait value has to reflect agronomic utility and should not exceed 10 percent (of the retail price).  However, in future there are likely to be many traits going into (save and sow) varieties.  Therefore the value of the trait will have to be somewhere in the range of 2-3 percent to make seeds affordable to farmers.

These guidelines will also help make (save and sow) varieties with GM traits available to farmers. Earlier they were restricted  only to hybrids which are expensive and have to be purchased every season.  Certain companies (read Monsanto) cleverly exploited Indian farmers by using bio-safety regulatory authorities like GEAC and RCGM to stipulate a requirement of no-objection certificates from them for approval of each and every new transgenic cotton hybrid developed by any applicant, thereby forcing all to sign one-sided license agreements which do not have sanctity under Indian law. All this was done to charge exorbitant trait value of Rs 1,250 per packet initially (till 2006) which later on with (state) government interventions came down to Rs. 180 per packet. The (central) government was compelled to act by promulgating CSPCO (cottonseed price control order), 2015 and notification of guidelines to prevent such situations.

By providing proper interpretation of the law as explained above in the guidelines, such private agreements in the future will not be required at all.  Unrestricted access to transgenic traits is provided in the PPVFR Act. In view of the importance of seeds and plant varieties to the country’s agriculture growth and to reward research in GM trait development, there is need for the guidelines.

(Top photo of NSAI workshop on IPRs and GM traits. Let to right: ASN Reddy, General Secretary of NSAI, C D Mayee, former chairman of Agricultural Scientists Recruitment Board, Prabhakar Rao, Chairman, NSAI, Krishanbir Chaudhary, President, Bharat Krishak Samaj and Paresh Verma, Head of ABLE-AG Management Committee.  Photo by Vivian Fernandes)


Email This Page

Hit Counter provided by technology news
Web Design MymensinghPremium WordPress ThemesWeb Development

I Do Not Understand Bt Cotton technology; I Know It Works

Kallanagouda PatilY Kallanagouda Patil, 46, of Uppinbetegeri village in Dharwad taluk  owns 52 acres jointly with his three brothers. He holds a diploma in agriculture from a school in Raichur. Patil grows cotton on ten acres, apart from sugarcane, potato, Bengal gram, jowar, tur,moong and vegetables. He uses groundwater to irrigate his fields. The water is drawn from a depth of 280 feet. Electricity is free so he flood irrigates the fields, except the one under banana  where he uses drip irrigation. He does not micro-irrigate cotton because it is closely planted and has to make way for another crop after eight months. This farmer has his cost all worked out. Making quick mental calculations, he estimates the cost of cotton crop at Rs 22,500 an acre and the realization from 17 quintals an acre at Rs 68,000. He had planted Bayer seed. ‘I do not understand technology, he says, all I know is if I use Bt seed there will be no

Pests Snack on Chilly But Not Cotton

RudagiF Basavaraj Rudagi, 48, did not grow cotton before 2008. This farmer from Saundhi village in Dharwad district’s Kundogol taluk made a partial switch to Bt cotton as chilly was susceptible to pest attack and yield was declining. From five acres in 2009, Rudagi had fifteen of a forty acre joint farm under cotton this year, when smartindianagriculture  caught up with him in February. He tried out Bayer in a change from Mahyco and Raasi seed. Rudagi says he got 11.5 quintals (100 kg) an acre from his rain-fed crop and at Rs 4,050 a quintal, his realization was a little over Rs 46,000. The cost, he says, is Rs 26,000 an acre, excluding rental earnings had he leased out the land. This does not mesh with the profit he claims he makes, but then he admits to not keeping crop-wise accounts. Rudagi also grows peanuts, coriander, gram, safflower and jowar. There is safety in diversity. And yes he plants pigeon pea or tur around the cotton crop for bollworms to feed on so they are not forced by the survival instinct to develop resistance to Bt protein.  In this sense he is quite a cut apart. Low cotton prices are worrying but what is the alternative?