Monsanto threatens to exit India over govt’s show cause notice

Over 90% of cotton grown in India is based on MMBL’s technology which is used by nearly 80 lakh cotton farmers.

Written by Amitav Ranjan | New Delhi | Published: March 5, 2016 2:21 am

The NDA government late Thursday issued show cause notice to Monsanto for revoking patent rights on one variant of genetically modified BT Cotton following representation by Bharatiya Janata Kisan Morcha that the crop had shown declining resistance against bollworm.

Sources said the Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion issued the show cause notice to Mahyco Monsanto Biotech (India) Ltd for Bollgard II variant for BT cotton as the efficacy against bollworm was coming down. “It was issued on the recommendation of the agriculture ministry,” said DIPP officials.

They said there was immense political pressure to issue the show cause notice even though the proper process should have been to ask the administrative agriculture ministry to assess if the falling resistance was due to inferior technology or a growing resistance in pests.

BJP-affiliate Bharatiya Janata Kisan Morcha had represented to agriculture ministry that patent right be revoked and price control be ushered as BT cotton had shown declining resistance in Gujarat, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. All three states are ruled by Bharatiya Janata Party, the leader of the NDA coalition. MMBL spokesperson confirmed that the company had received the “query” from DIPP.

However, a day later, Monsanto India on Friday took a different track threatening to pull out of India and holding back new technology if the government cut trait fee of BT cotton seeds through “arbitrary and potentially destructive” interventions.

“It will be difficult for MMBL to justify bringing new technologies into India in an environment where such arbitrary and potentially destructive government interventions make it impossible to recoup research and development investments focused on delivering extensive farmer benefits and where sanctity of contracts is absent,” CEO Shilpa Devikar Nirula said on Friday.

“If the committee recommends imposing a sharp, mandatory cut in the trait fees paid on BT-cotton seeds, we will have no choice but to re-evaluate every aspect of our position in India,” the emailed statement said.

The committee has recommended a 70-per cent slash in royalty fee to Rs 49 from Rs 163 for a 450 gm packet of Bollgard II seeds that provides pest control allowing growers to reduce/eliminate insecticide spray for worms, especially bollworm. It also recommended an overall lowering of seed prices.

“Such a drastic intervention overrides existing private bilateral commercial contracts, and undermines the overall operating environment in India,” MMBL said, adding that it was hopeful of NDA upholding “fair business practices” and “predictability” due to “its intent to promote Make in India and improve ease of doing business”.

Over 90 per cent of cotton grown in India is based on MMBL’s technology which is used by nearly 80 lakh cotton farmers in India. It has changed the country from being a net importer to the world’s second largest grower. MMBL, a joint venture between Mahyco Seeds Ltd and Monsanto Co., licenses its patented Bollgard II Bt cotton seed technology to 49 seed companies in India in exchange for a royalty fee.

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  1. K
    kk
    Mar 6, 2016 at 6:45 am
    Good riddance! Govt's action in right direction and to protect the poor farmers against looting by MNC. When in India, the MNC should respect the law of the land.
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    1. N
      nand
      Mar 5, 2016 at 4:47 am
      Excellent pre planned and co conspired to bail out Monsanto without paying up. As usual no bldy indian Govt. is working for the people. All are working for corporate.
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      1. D
        Dr. Manjula
        Mar 11, 2016 at 5:40 am
        The event UASD Bt. cotton event No. 78 has been produced at the University of Agricultural Sciences Dharwad, Karnataka and was confirmed by scientists and reported to University in the IBSC meeting during March 2014. The University planned to delay the promotion of the event to field trial by delaying the proceedings and thereby stopping the application moving to RCGM in time. Simultaneously very cleverly transferred me from cotton to Safflower at a remote station and place in the name of transfer policy during July 2014 and since then hared me in numerous ways for my efforts to promote this Bt event to farmers who can use his own seeds as cotton varieties can be developed by public sector. After not getting a resolve to the matter at all levels in the state the matter has been submitted to PMO and i do not find any hopes here also.
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          Dr. Manjula
          Mar 11, 2016 at 5:10 am
          What a pathetic condition Government has intentionally brought the farmers to. Very evident support to the corporate and suppressing the public sector Bt event which is superior to the Monsanto event for Cry toxin production. The event UASD Bt. cotton event No. 78 has been produced by me, Dr. Manjula Maralappanavar, and am facing evident suppression by the w system from University to National Government. The issue which has such an impact is lying in PMO from September 2015 till date without any hopes of resolve for the sake of farmers showing the highhandedness of the company. The PMOPG/E/2015/0117432 and PMOPG/D/2015/288285 may be referred for confirmation.
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          1. Mark Donners
            Mar 5, 2016 at 1:13 pm
            GMO and its ociated lethal pesticides and herbicides are dangerous poisons. Eating genetically modified corn (GM corn) and consuming trace levels of Monsanto's Roundup chemical fertilizer caused rats to develop horrifying tumors, widespread organ damage, and premature death. rats exposed to even the smallest amounts, "developed mammary tumors and severe liver and kidney damage as early as four months in males, and seven months for females." The animals on the GM diet suffered mammary tumors, as well as severe liver and kidney damage. Everywhere GMO is being grown, food allergies, disorders such as autism, reproductive disorders, digestive problems, and others have been skyrocketing in the human potions. There has been a drastic decline of crop-pollinating insects all over the world, and this means a catastrophe for the future of the world's food supply. Wild pollinators like bumblebees, butterflies, and beetles are basically disappearing. GMO industrial agricultural practices are causing this insect genocide. Pollinating insects in general, which include a wide range of insects and other animals, are simply vanishing from their normal habitats and foraging areas. That lower diversity and lower abundance of wild insects means less fruits and destruction of the diversity of plants and their fruits worldwide. GMOs cross pollinate and their seeds can travel. It is impossible to fully clean up our contaminated gene pool. Self-propagating GMO pollution will outlast the effects of global warming and nuclear waste. The potential impact is huge, threatening the health of future generations. GMO contamination has also caused economic losses for organic and non-GMO farmers who often struggle to keep their crops pure. GMOs increase herbicide use. Most GM crops are engineered to be "herbicide tolerant"―surviving deadly weed killers. Monsanto, for example, sells Roundup Ready crops, designed to survive applications of their Roundup herbicide. Between 1996 and 2008, US farmers spra an extra 383 million pounds of herbicide on GMOs. Overuse of Roundup results in "superweeds," resistant to the herbicide. This is causing farmers to use even more toxic herbicides every year. Not only does this create environmental harm, GM foods contain higher residues of toxic herbicides. Roundup, for example, is linked with sterility, hormone disruption, birth defects, and cancer. GM crops and their ociated herbicides can harm birds, insects, amphibians, marine ecosystems, and soil organisms. They reduce bio-diversity, pollute water resources, and are unsustainable. For example, GM crops are eliminating habitat for monarch butterflies, whose potions are down 50% in the US. Roundup herbicide has been shown to cause birth defects in amphibians, embryonic deaths and endocrine disruptions, and organ damage in animals even at very low doses. GM canola has been found growing wild in North Dakota and California, threatening to p on its herbicide tolerant genes on to weeds. By mixing genes from totally unrelated species, genetic engineering unleashes a host of unpredictable side effects. Moreover, irrespective of the type of genes that are inserted, the very process of creating a GM plant can result in mive collateral damage that produces new toxins, allergens, carcinogens, and nutritional deficiencies. GMOs do NOT increase yields, and work against feeding a hungry world. Whereas sustainable non-GMO agricultural methods used in developing countries have conclusively resulted in yield increases of 79% and higher, GMOs do not, on average, increase yields at all. This was evident in the Union of Concerned Scientists' 2009 report Failure to Yield―the definitive study to date on GM crops and yield. The toxins ociated with GMO should never be tolerated. NEONICOTINOID PESTICIDE neurotoxins are absolutely the main factor causing the collapse of bee and pollinator potions along with other lethal chemicals, Agent Orange herbicides, glysophate, etc. When these poisons are banned as they were in Europe the bee potions start to recover. GMO neonicotinoids, roundup etc. MUST BE BANNED OUTRIGHT and all the farmers along with USDA, Biotech and chemical companies told to cease and desist from what they are doing. An even scarier prospect: the "BT" version of GMO soybeans and corn, (basically pesticides engineered directly into the plant ) The "BT toxin" gene is put into the DNA of the corn in order for it to manufacture its own toxins that kill pests. The BT gene originated from a soil bacteria that also infiltrates the microflora (friendly digestive bacteria) in your gut. The Bt gene converts the microflora in your intestine into toxin-manufacturing machines. So, to be clear, eating GMO corn products can cause your gut (which is primarily responsible for keeping you healthy) to turn into a breeding ground for tiny little pesticide factories inside your body, actively creating toxins which are designed to kill living things. These toxins are found in the blood and are readily transferred across the placenta to developing babies in the womb.
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