Hindustan Times, 19 December 2015
The Central government has approached the CCI to probe whether global seed giant Monsanto Company was charging higher than permissible royalties on its BT cotton seeds in India.
The Centre has approached the Competition Commission of India (CCI) —the anti-monopoly regulator — to probe whether global seed giant Monsanto Company’s India joint venture was charging higher-than-permissible royalties on its popular BT cotton seeds and, consequently, hurting farmers.
BT Cotton is India’s only genetically modified crop allowed for commercial cultivation. Monsanto does most of its business by sub-licencing its BT cotton technology to Indian seed manufacturers for a fee.
In a letter to the CCI, in which it sought a “detailed investigation” against the Maharashtra-based Mahyco-Monsanto Biotech Limited (MMB Ltd), the Radha Mohan Singh-headed farm ministry said it had got complaints against the firm related to “anti-competitive practices” and “unreasonable high prices” of BT Cotton seeds.
“We have not received any communication from the CCI. Should the CCI reach out to us for any clarification or information, we will extend our fullest cooperation,” a MMBL spokesperson said.
The agriculture ministry has requested a probe mainly against allegations that MMB Ltd could be abusing “its dominant position”, entering into sub-licence agreements that “appear to be anti-competitive” and “creating monopoly through restrictive agreement for unjust enrichment by charging higher trait value from its licensees and ultimately from farmers”.
The government wants probes into alleged predatory and anti-competitive behavior by the seed firm.