US biotech major Monsanto's Indian arm Monsanto Holding has agreed to sell its branded cotton seed business to Hyderabad-based Tierra Agrotech for an undisclosed amount.
US biotech major Monsanto’s Indian arm Monsanto Holding has agreed to sell its branded cotton seed business to Hyderabad-based Tierra Agrotech for an undisclosed amount. Monsanto said the branded cotton seed business of Monsanto Holding Pvt Ltd (MHPL) is small and it is “fully committed” to Indian agriculture and will continue to bring innovative products. In India, the US major has three companies — listed entity Monsanto India Ltd, MHPL and a joint-venture company Mahyco-Monsanto Biotech Ltd (MMBL).
MHPL will continue to sell branded vegetable seeds and it is only divesting branded cotton seeds, which has 4 per cent market share in the country’s total cotton seed market that is largely Bt cotton. Like other seed companies, MHPL also took license to sell Bt cotton from the group company MMBL.”Given the strategic choices, we have signed an agreement with Tierra Agrotech Private Limited to pursue the sale of the branded cotton seed business, which will be effective subsequent to the necessary approvals,” Monsanto India spokesperson said in a statement. Stating that the branded cotton portfolio has the potential to benefit India’s cotton farmers, the company said that organisation like Tierra Agrotech Private Limited would grow this business further.
Tierra Agrotech is keen to strategically invest in the business and continue to introduce new products, it added. On India business, Monsanto said it plans to strengthen the existing business in corn, crop protection, vegetables, Bollgard II technology solutions and digital agriculture.”Monsanto remains fully committed to Indian agriculture and we plan to continue bringing innovative research to our businesses in corn seeds, vegetable seeds, crop protection solutions and innovative digital agriculture tools, to provide high quality seeds and solutions to farmers as they make their planting decisions,” it said. MMBL, which gives licenses to seed companies to use its Bt cotton seed technology, is embroiled in a legal battle with government and domestic players over the issue of royalty. After the government cut royalty for Bt cotton seed in 2015-16, Monsanto had threatened to re-evaluate its presence in India.