The bill in its present form is not acceptable to us, they say
Farmers' leaders have criticised domestic seed companies for “playing into” the hands of multinational companies like Monsanto by demanding immediate passage of seed bill in Parliament. They asserted that the Bill was not acceptable to them in its present form, as there was a need to amend it to remove certain grey areas.
Former Agriculture Minister Vadde Sobhanadreeswara Rao, addressing a press conference along with Federation of Farmers' Associations president Yerneni Nagendranath and CPI (ML) leader Muppalla Bhargava Sri, said that the seed companies were not realising the importance of “live and let live” philosophy, which would have earned some goodwill from the farmers' community. The present Seed Bill had all the ingredients to serve the vested interests of seed companies, while endangering the basic rights of farmers.
Though a Parliamentary Standing Committee under the chairmanship of Samajwadi Party leader Ramgopal Yadav had opposed the passage of the bill in the past, efforts were still being made to make it an Act. Mr. Rao blamed Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar for, what he described as, objectionable efforts to pass the bill in its present form.
‘No concern for ryots'
He lamented that the national level seed companies that came to Hyderabad issued statements to the media demanding passage of the bill, and it did not show any concern for farmers' welfare.
Mr. Rao said that the State government too expressed its disapproval of the Seed Bill in its present form and there was a need to counter any further efforts to get it passed into an Act keeping in view the larger interests of the farmers.
The Indian seed companies were acting against the national interests by playing second fiddle to multinationals like Monsanto and Dumont, he alleged.
The former Minister said efforts were being made to solve the problem of spurious seed, and the Government should protect the interests of farmers by helping them bring proper legislations to ensure supply of quality seed at reasonable price.