Seed village rage in Karnataka

Written by Sandip Das | Doddatumkur village, Bangalore | Updated: Mar 6 2012, 08:55am hrs
High-yielding breeder onion seeds are changing the way farming is done in Karnataka. Villagers here are engaged in growing this variety of seed, which is then given to public and private sector seed companies for multiplication. They are then distributed among farmers.

This method comes in handy for thousands of onion growers in the state.

Mohan Kumar is one such farmer, who harvests about six quintal of onion breeder seeds at his four-acre farm. He gets about R3 lakh annually just from selling this variety of seed. Kumar, like scores of others, is not worried about the marketing of the seeds as the entire produce is procured by the Indian Institute of Horticulture Research (IIHR).

With the growing demand for hybrid onion seeds in this region,

many farmers have been roped in for the seed village concept.

Under the agreement with IIHR, Kumar grows seeds for the popular onion variety Arka Neketan (known for its big bulbs and excellent storage capacity) under the supervision of IIHR scientists.

The seed cultivation is also monitored by officials of the National Seeds Corporation and the Karnataka State Certification Agency.

As there is a wide gap in the supply and demand of high-quality vegetable seeds, we are trying to bridge it by helping farmers cultivate breeder seeds for onions and other vegetables, IIHR director Amrik Singh Sidhu told FE.

Currently, the institute has identified villages, such as Doddatumkur (part of Bangalore urban district) and others

in Kolar, Chikkabllapur and Tumkur districts for promotion of the seed village concept.

Senior IIHR scientists say their seed production

programme can cater to about 20-30% of the seed requirement for onions and french beans in Karnataka and adjoining states.

IIHR is now aiming at adding 50 villages under the programme for cultivation of breeder seeds for 89 crops, including tomato, cauliflower, cabbage, onion and french beans.

Farmers are facing problem in getting good quality vegetable seed. This concept eliminates the problems of spurious seeds being sold in the market, said Sidhu.

IIHR annually produces and distributes 8,000 kg breeder seeds to various multiplication agencies in both the private and public sectors.