The Maharashtra Government is considering to bring about new laws, which will review the seeds and seeds technology available in the state every two years. It will also fix the responsibility of the farming experts and agriculture technology, in the event of a crop failure.
The push for the new laws is being spearheaded by farmer leader and speaker of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly, Nana Patole. Given the rising pests’ attacks on BT cotton crops and low-quality seeds of crops being sold to the farmers, such laws are being considered. The Maharashtra Pradesh Kisan Congress (MPKC), the farmer’s arm of the Congress party is also pushing for new laws.
Patole told BusinessLine that year after year farmers are facing crop failures due to faulty seeds, while the seed companies and agriculture experts who have brought those seeds in the market are going unpunished. Due to repeated crop failure, farmers are committing suicides, “Therefore I have ordered the State Government to look at the lacunas in the existing laws and bring out new laws,” he said.
In June the lack of germination of soybean seeds turned into a significant issue with farmers complaining of empty fields. The seed industry had said that the lockdown and Covid pandemic being one of the main reasons for the seed germination failure. It had been told that lockdown impacted the process of certified seeds.
Patole added that the genetic modification and biotechnology in cotton seeds has been under R&D and later production since the 1970s. Still, the cotton crop in 2020 is getting affected by pink bollworm (PBW) attacks. Therefore, there is a need to look at such technologies. Further, actions on the laws are expected within a month.
General Secretary of MPKC, Deveanand Pawar, said that the incidences of PBW attacks on cotton crops have increased in the last five years. Rotting cotton bowls has also increased. All these afflictions can be traced back to the low quality of seeds and the underlying technology. Therefore there is a need to fix the responsibility of the companies and the agriculture experts.