Biotechnology giant Monsanto Co. has withdrawn an application seeking approval for the latest version of its genetically modified cotton seeds to protest against the Indian government’s proposal on sharing technology with local seed companies, Reuters reported on Wednesday. The company’s Indian arm, Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Co. Ltd., informed the Union government of its decision in a letter dated July 5, according to the report.
Mahyco said the proposal “alarmed” it and “raised serious concerns about the protection of intellectual property rights” in the country. The communication further asked the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee to return data and other materials on the seed, which was put forward for approval in 2007. However, the company said that it would seek to revive its application for approval “at a suitable time”. The report said that spokespersons for both Mahyco Monsanto and the Centre declined to comment on the matter.
Monsanto and the Union government are also at odds over how much the agricultural corporation can charge for its modified seeds, even as it earned $97 million (approximately Rs 651 crore) in royalties from the sale of 41 million seed packets last year. India became the world’s top producer and second-largest exporter of cotton after the introduction of the company's Bollgard II seed in 2006.