A PYMNTS Company

Carrot Farmers Spark Price-Fixing Seed Probe In India

 |  November 2, 2021

An Indian antitrust investigation into suspected price collusion by some prominent global agricultural firms was triggered by farmers who complained about excessive pricing of imported carrot seeds, documents seen by Reuters showed.

A group representing about 1,500 farmers in the mountainous Nilgiri district of Tamil Nadu, a top carrot-growing state in southern India, petitioned the watchdog in 2019 alleging that an “unfair profit margin” was being charged on the carrot seeds, the regulatory documents showed.

This is the first time the complaint is coming into public view. It has touched off an investigation that has the potential to affect pricing practices in an Indian vegetable seed market expected to be worth $1.2 billion in five years.

In some instances, the agricultural firms’ seeds were allegedly being sold at four times the imported price, according to the documents. The farmers were also denied sale of such seeds in the northern parts of India where they were available at prices up to 50% cheaper, they alleged, according to the documents.

Want more news? Subscribe to CPI’s free daily newsletter for more headlines and updates on antitrust developments around the world.