Agriculture Policy Briefing Bt technology

Monsanto to Exit Cottonseed Business in India; Retains GM Traits, Veggie and Corn Seeds Businesses

Monsanto Holding Private Limited (MHPL) is exiting the cottonseed business in India.  A spokesperson of the company said this was to ease Monsanto India’s merger with Bayer Cropscience by reducing the burden of regulatory compliances.

MHPL is a wholly owned subsidiary of Monsanto, the US leader in agricultural biotechnology.  It has cottonseed brands like Paras Atal, Paras Sudarshan and Paras Krishna, but the best known is Paras Brahma, a long-staple hybrid suited for irrigated conditions. It is one of the top-selling brands, commanding a share of 4 percent in the crowded branded cottonseed market in India.

The Paras brand was acquired in 2005 from Emergent Genetics India Ltd.

Since kharif 2014, MHPL has also been selling cottonseed under the its global Deltapine brand. That brand will not be sold, but the parental lines and germplasm of the brand called DP 9120 might go to the acquirer, a source said.

MHPL is selling the cottonseed business to Tierra Agrotech, a Hyderabad-based unlisted company incorporated in 2013. It was set up by professionals engaged in the seeds business.

MHPL will retain the vegetable and corn seed businesses.  Mahyco Monsanto Biotech, an equal joint venture with Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds Company, will continue to license the genetically-modified Bt insecticidal traits that go into brands like Paras Brahma.

(Top photo: Monsanto’s experimental cotton farm in Parbhani being sprayed. Photo by Vivian Fernandes, September 2015).

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