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Product Proliferation in India's Cotton Seed Market: Are There Too Many Varieties?

Author

Listed:
  • Ramaswami Bharat

    (Indian Statistical Institute)

  • Murugkar Milind

    (Institute of Engineering Education and Research)

  • Shelar Mahesh

    (Institute of Engineering Education and Research)

Abstract

With about $250 million in sales, India's cotton seed market is one of the largest cotton seed markets in the world. While products of public sector breeding traditionally dominated this sector, the bulk of value is now accounted by private seed firms. A persistent criticism of the Indian cotton seed market is that there are far too many cotton varieties as the private sector recycles older and inferior varieties under new names. This paper examines the phenomenon of variety proliferation in the cotton seed market of Maharashtra, India. Empirical evidence is presented from a survey of seed dealers in 2005. The evidence shows that while variety proliferation is indeed observed, the cause of it is private bred hybrids that are highly localized and which are rarely market leaders. Only a few varieties are dominant geographically and they command price premiums suggesting brand power. Firm and brand reputations matter and substitute for regulation by restricting fly-by-night operators.

Suggested Citation

  • Ramaswami Bharat & Murugkar Milind & Shelar Mahesh, 2009. "Product Proliferation in India's Cotton Seed Market: Are There Too Many Varieties?," Journal of Agricultural & Food Industrial Organization, De Gruyter, vol. 7(1), pages 1-17, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:bjafio:v:7:y:2009:i:1:n:2
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Minten, Bart & Singh, K.M. & Sutradhar, Rajib, 2013. "Branding and agricultural value chains in developing countries: Insights from Bihar (India)," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 23-34.
    2. Minten, Bart & Singh, K.M. & Sutradhar, Rajib, 2010. "The makhana value chain and the fast emergence of branding in food retail: Evidence from Bihar (India)," MPRA Paper 54344, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 14 Jan 2010.
    3. Stone, Glenn Davis, 2011. "Field versus Farm in Warangal: Bt Cotton, Higher Yields, and Larger Questions," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 387-398, March.
    4. Assefa, Thomas Woldu & Minten, Bart, 2015. "Can agricultural traders be trusted? Evidence from urban coffee markets in Ethiopia:," ESSP working papers 72, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    5. Minten, Bart & Singh, K.M. & Sutradhar, Rajib, 2011. "Branding in food retail of high value crops in Asia: Case of Makhana from Bihar (India)," MPRA Paper 54334, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 31 Jan 2011.
    6. Minten, Bart & Singh, K.M. & Sutradhar, Rajib, 2011. "The rapid emergence of branding in food retail in Asia: Insights from Bihar (India)," MPRA Paper 54337, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 14 Jan 2011.

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