1

Lydia Mulvany – India cuts Monsanto modified cotton-seed royalty fees by 70%

* Government makes move despite opposition from Monsanto venture
* Venture had said it would ‘reevaluate’ position in India

India cut royalties for genetically-modified cotton seeds, defying Monsanto Co., which has said such a move would cause it to reevaluate its business in the country, the largest grower of the fiber.

The agriculture ministry said Tuesday that so-called trait royalties will be capped at 49 rupees (73 U.S. cents) per 450-gram pack of so-called Bt cotton seeds, a 70 percent reduction from current levels. It also set the maximum sale price at 800 rupees.

St. Louis-based Monsanto sells cotton seed in India via Mahyco Monsanto Biotech, or MMB, a joint venture with Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Co. The venture licenses Monsanto technology to seed companies and then collects trait fees. MMB said March 4 it would have no choice but to “reevaluate every aspect” of its position in India should the government make a substantial cut to royalties, saying such intervention would override its contracts with seed companies and undermine its operations.

Read More