MUMBAI: For the first time in history, farmers have filed a complaint against private seed companies for supplying substandard seeds.
More than 12 lakh farmers filed a complaint with the State’s Agricultural Department and demanded compensation of Rs 6,500 crore.
The farmers claimed that 216 private seed companies provided sub-standard cotton seeds that failed to counter the pink bollworm pest and resulted in a drop in production.
After a pink bollworm attack on cotton farms, Kishor Tiwari, President, Late Vasantrao Naik Sheti Swavalamban Mission (VNSSM) appealed to the farmers to ask for compensation.
“The government assured in the winter session of the Assembly that the affected farmers will get compensation as per the government norms of National Disaster Relief Fund (NDRF). The government also announced that cotton farmers will be given independent compensation as well from seed and crop insurance companies,” said Tiwari.
“According to the government announcement, the farmers will get compensation of Rs 18,000 per hectare from the NDRF. This is the lower threshold and the amount will increase,” he said. The farmers accused the companies of providing seeds they claimed will sustain in the attack of the bollworm. But this did not happen, leading to an economic disaster. Hence, they should get compensation,” said Tiwari.
Meanwhile, the Relief and Rehabilitation Department of the State government has asked for financial aid of Rs 2,425 crore from the Centre to compensate the farmers facing losses due to pink bollworm pest, tudtudya disease on rice and Ockhi cyclone.