India cut the royalties paid by local firms for Monsanto’s genetically modified cotton seeds by nearly 70 percent on Wednesday, ignoring a threat by the world’s biggest seed company to leave if it did.
The move follows complaints from local seeds companies that Mahyco Monsanto Biotech (India)(MMB), a Monsanto joint venture with India’s Mahyco, was charging high royalties. This prompted the agriculture ministry to form a panel to look into the matter, whose recommendation the government has now accepted.
MMB has filed a case in a Delhi court, challenging the authority of the panel to determine the trade fee agreed upon by MMB and a number of Indian seed companies.
As well as cutting the royalties, the government also capped GM cotton seed prices at 800 rupees for a packet of 400 grams after appeals by some state governments and farmers to lower the rate of the Bt variety that commands 90 percent of the market.