Production of BT cotton in Andhra falls 30 per cent

Hyderabad, Feb 22 (PTI) Production of BT cotton seedswent down by 30 per cent in Andhra Pradesh this fiscal owingto the state government�s reluctance to increase prices of thesame, said K Vidyasagar Rao, member, NSAI and ManagingDirector, Vibha Agrotech Ltd here today.

According to him, though the demand for BT cotton seedswas about 4.5 crore packets in AP, producers supplied only 3.5crore packets as per records available with National SeedsAssociation of India (NSAI).

"Production costs have gone up substantially, but thegovernment refused to increase the prices last year. We wouldonce again approach the Chief Minister and make arepresentation to look into this issue," said P Vidyasagarsaid on the sidelines of a conference here today.

Rao said the association would also make arepresentation to both Government of Gujarat and Government ofMaharashtra to study the issue and raise the BT cotton seedsprices.

Currently, Bt cotton seeds are priced Rs 650 and Rs 750per packet each for single and double gene technologiesrespectively. NSAI has requested the state government toincrease it to Rs 850 and Rs 1,050 per packet each.

Justifying the demand for price hike, Rao said,agriculture input costs including fertilisers, insecticidesand labour cost increased 31 per cent since 2006 even as priceof Bt cotton seeds reduced by 16 per cent.

According to him, AP accounts for 75 per cent of theseed industry in India and provides direct and indirectemployment to about 25 lakh.

The seed industry is about Rs 7,000 crore of which, Btcotton seed accounts for market worth Rs 2,000 crore.

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