Maharashtra wants Bollgard II to be denotified from the Bt cotton category since it’s no longer resistant to pink bollworm. Bollgard II is a genetically modified seed. The state has suggested the seed be downgraded to hybrid, which will lead to a drop in its price. If BG II is denotified, it may result in a reduction in price from the present around Rs 800 a packet to Rs 400 a packet. Farmers can use the money saved in meeting the additional cost of plant protection.
Maharashtra is among the leading cotton producers in India, cultivating 41 lakh hectares. As much as 98 per cent of the crop is grown from Bt cotton seeds with BG II technology. The seeds are meant to be resistant to the American and pink bollworm, thereby reducing the use of pesticides. But the seed’s resistance to the pink bollworm has been dropping for a while, leading to a rise in the use of pesticides. Farmers opt for BG II seed on the assumption that crops would be protected from pink bollworm.
The BG II technology was developed by the global seed giant Monsanto and marketed in India through the joint venture firm Mahyco Monsanto Biotech India, which licenses the technology to Indian seed companies.