The Bihar government has banned sale of “research variety” seeds. In a June 9 order, state agriculture director Himanshu Kumar Roy said that the government had learnt that several private companies and retailers were selling “research variety’’ seeds to farmers in attractive packets.
“Such seeds are sold in name of research seeds… Seed Act, 1966, Seed Rules, 1968, and Seed Control Order, 1983, do not have mention of research seeds. Such seeds are sold at a higher price in the name of research. The state government bans research variety of seeds with immediate effect.’’
The order will be applicable from the kharif season during which farmers sow varieties of hybrid seeds. There are two variety of seeds — certified and truthfully labelled. The government gives certification for certified varieties while companies have to seek licenses for truthfully labeled. The order came a month after CM Nitish Kumar wrote to PM Narendra Modi raising doubts over GM mustard.
He had demanded a study on impact of GM varieties of seeds to know if they benefit farmers and multinational companies. The Seeds Association of Madhya Pradesh has asked the National Seed Association of India to intervene saying that the order infringes upon provisions of Central government’s Seed Act, 1966. “The notification… is totally illegal and without any authority of law…”.
Agriculture Minister Ram Vichar Rai was unavailable for comments. An official said that the state government can take such a call since agriculture is a state subject.