Maharashtra govt urges farmers to use own soyabean seeds for next season

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September 29, 2020 12:15 AM

“Right now, we cannot assess the total seed damage but we expect some shortage to happen and, therefore, have begun planning for the next season, Dilip Zhende, divisional joint director, Department of Agriculture told FE.

The state government has supplied for 26.47 lakh quintal of soyabean seeds for 2020-21 season and around two-third of the seed requirement is met through the farmer’s own field, he explained.The state government has supplied for 26.47 lakh quintal of soyabean seeds for 2020-21 season and around two-third of the seed requirement is met through the farmer’s own field, he explained.

Anticipating a possible shortage of seeds during the kharif season of 2021-22, the department of agriculture of the Maharashtra government has begun a village level campaign urging farmers to produce and keep aside soyabean seeds for sowing operations for the next season.

“Right now, we cannot assess the total seed damage but we expect some shortage to happen and, therefore, have begun planning for the next season, Dilip Zhende, divisional joint director, Department of Agriculture told FE.

“The department usually commences preparation work for the next season a year in advance. This time, we felt that a seed shortage cannot be ruled out and, therefore, have reached out to farmers through village level campaigns to ensure that they use seeds from their own crop,” he said.

The state government has supplied for 26.47 lakh quintal of soyabean seeds for 2020-21 season and around two-third of the seed requirement is met through the farmer’s own field, he explained.

This season, soyabean has been planted on nearly 43.5 lakh hectare as against 40.11 lakh hectare last year.
However, heavy rains have lashed the state for the past two weeks and this could affect the current crop, he said.

Maharashtra also reported a major failure in germination of soyabean seeds this kharif season with over 1.60 lakh complaints registered by farmers across the state in this regard. As a result, the Maharashtra Agriculture Commissionerate has cancelled licences of 11 seed companies for their alleged role in supplying inferior quality soyabean seeds to farmers this kharif season that led to germination failure, Zende confirmed. Maharashtra has around 77 seed companies that manufacture soyabean seeds.

According to Zende, this could lead to a possible shortage and therefore the state government has begun taking measures to prevent this from happening. Normally, a farmer uses a couple of his own bags (each bag contains 30 kg) of seeds from the previous season and a new bag of seeds from the market, he said. This time the government is encouraging farmers to entirely use their own seeds for the coming season, he explained.

So far, 83 FIRs have been filed by the state agriculture department against seed companies for their alleged role in supplying spurious seeds. Officers of the commissionerate have held hearings under the Seed Act and passed orders against the companies. Till date, around 77 hearings have taken place and 11 companies have had their licences suspended. Next week 40 more hearings are scheduled in the matter.

Nita Khandekar, principal scientist, ICAR Indian Institute of Soybean Research, said that as a research body, the institute has been recommending the newer varieties to the government to prevent possible damage due to floods or drought like situations. However, the usage of new varieties has not been high, she remarked. The institute plans to cultivate seed nurseries for soyabean during the rabi season this year, she said.

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