US biotechnology major Monsanto’s Indian JV has settled royalty dispute with three Indian cotton seed companies that have cleared payment dues of about Rs 300 crore and the arbitration process is on with five other firms. Mahyco Monsanto Biotech Ltd (MMBL), a joint venture firm of Monsanto, has sub-licensed Bt cotton seed technology to various domestic seed companies since 2002. However, eight licensees including Nuziveedu Seeds Ltd (NSL) refused to honour their commitments to pay MMBL over Rs 450 crore after collecting these amounts from cotton farmers in kharif 2015.
In a letter to the agriculture ministry, MMBL said it has “amicably settled” the dispute with three Indian companies –Ajeet Seeds, Kaveri Seed Co Ltd and Ankur Seeds. According to sources, these three companies owed about Rs 300 crore.
The arbitration process to settle the matter with the rest five companies, including Nuziveedu group firms, is still on and they together owe about Rs 160 crore, they added. The Nuziveedu group firms — Nuziveedu Seeds Ltd, Prabhat Agri Biotech Ltd and Pravardhan Seeds Pvt Ltd — together owe Rs 145 crore and the rest Rs 15 crore by Amar Biotech Ltd and Sri Rama Agri Genetics.
Stating that MMBL is committed to resolving the disputes, the company’s Director Shilpa Divekar Nirula in the letter said: “…the outstanding disputes with the few companies, namely NSL group of companies, Amar Biotech Ltd and Sri Rama Agri Genetics, who follow NSL’s lead on the disputes, continue.”
“The arbitration proceedings are ongoing before various fora across the country,” she added. MMBL said many seed companies had ended their dispute with the company in early 2015-16 except for eight, which were referred to arbitration.
Meanwhile, Monsanto has appealed against the government decision to fix cotton price along with trait value (royalty) under the Cotton Seed Price Control Order. The case is pending with the Delhi High Court.