The Andhra Pradesh government has barred seed major Monsanto from marketing and selling its Bt cotton varieties in the state. Reason: failure of the company’s seeds in previous crops and its refusal to pay compensation to farmers as decided by the agricultural commissioner of the state.
This is perhaps the first time that a state government has blacklisted a corporate entity from marketing its products.
According to agricultural commissioner Poonam Malakondiah, the company has been barred from even undertaking trials. This, when it has already applied for approval to carry out trial cropping of two more varieties of Bt cotton. “We will not allow them,” Ms Malkondiah said.
Differences cropped up between Monsanto and the government when the latter sought a compensation package of about Rs 4.5 crore to be paid by the company to farmers in Warangal, Khammam, Guntur and Karimnagar districts. Supporting the commissioner’s decision, state agriculture minister said the government will not allow the company to sell cotton seeds in the state. “The company has to respect the government’s order and it has never behaved as a good corporate citizen with us,” he said.
Andhra Pradesh, which is considered to be the seed capital of India, could potentially harm the business prospects of the company, industry observers said.