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Farmers groups continue to oppose India's Seed Bill
Last modified: 2011-06-12 21:09:36

NEW DELHI (Commodity Online) : Many farmers organizations across India continued their campaign against the proposed seed bill by saying it will increase the domination of multi-national seed companies in the country and may force farmers to pay royalty on hybrid seeds.

Chief Minister of North Indian State of Bihar Nitish Kumar joined the core of protestors Friday and described the Bill as "dangerous" for millions of farmers in the country.

He said the bill in its present form would lead to unrestricted commercialisation of seed varieties in the public domain, including those developed by the farmers.

The Forum For Biotechnology and Food Security said the bill, if passed by the Parliament, would nullify the traditional rights of farmers given by PVPFRA on seeds.

Farmers' outfits say the Bill neither proposes time-bound disposal of complaints nor a fast-track arbitration authority accessible to farmers.

Farmers fear that the provisional registration granted for transgenic varieties will facilitate the entry of untested seeds and genetically modified crops into the market through the backdoor.

Country's Cabinet cleared the Bill last month. Sources said the government is keen to introduce the Bill this to the government, aims at regulating the quality of seeds for sale, import and export and to facilitate production and supply of good quality seeds

The draft of the proposed act shows objectionable leniency towards those selling fake and poor quality seeds.

The maximum punishment proposed in the act, one lakh rupees, is not a sufficient deterrent considering the fact that some of the branded seeds are sold at exorbitant price of Rs 60,000-100,000 / Kilo.

The bill also proposes to set up a central agency entitled for the registration of seeds. The bill also proposes to give certification rights to companies based abroad. Experts say in such a scenario any company will set up dummy certification agency and will certify their own seeds.

10 June 2011


Keywords: opposition to seed control, India, seeds, GMO, transgenic, commercialization of seeds
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