Agriculture department officials, who checked the dealers’ bill books, told ET that BG II cotton seeds were sold for Rs 860/bag against the MRP of Rs 930/bag while the BG I variety was sold for Rs 780/bag as against the MRP of Rs 830/bag. Despite supply tops demand, seeds of top brands are being sold in black market for a huge premium. “Seeds of a leading multinational seed company are being sold for Rs 2,500/packet against its MRP of Rs 930/packet,” said a source. The Maharashtra government has filed 11 cases for overpricing.
Cotton is likely to give way to guar gum, ground nut, castor, soya bean and maize in different parts of the country. Cost of cultivation is proving to be the deciding factor. Niranjan Patel, a cotton farmer in Gujarat, who grows seeds for a leading Bt cotton seed company, said, “Prices of ground nut, castor and guar gum have increased while that of cotton have come down. The cost of cultivation of ground nut and castor is very less compared to cotton. These crops have a shorter duration.”
Cotton farmers from Maharashtra are likely to shift to soya bean and maize due. Cotton farmer Dinkar Patil, from Buldhana district of Maharashtra, said, “Many farmers in this region are planning to shift to soya bean. Soya bean price has increased from Rs 3,000/quintal to about Rs 4,000/quintal.
And the cost of cultivation of soya bean is less when compared with cotton.”