High-level committee blows the lid off illegal cotton seed business

New Delhi: A high-level expert panel set up by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has found that nearly 15% area under cotton was planted with illegally produced and unapproved herbicide tolerant (HT) seeds in the 2017 kharif crop season.

Not only is this creating an unregulated market for genetically modified (GM) seeds, it is potentially harmful to the environment because it entails use of herbicides which are otherwise restricted.

At the same time, given that these seeds are not approved by the regulator there is every chance the seeds, which are expensive, could lead to crop failure, increasing the downside risks to farmers—cotton farming has witnessed the highest number of suicides.