The Maharashtra government has pegged sowing of soyabean for the coming kharif season at around 38-41 lakh hectares. Soyabean is planted on nearly 38 lakh hectares in the state. Agriculture Department officials said there would be no seed crunch this year.
Last year, farmers had faced a soyabean seed crunch ahead of the kharif sowing season. Therefore, the government began a campaign to encourage farmers to use their own seeds from the previous year’s crop. This move seems to have paid rich dividends. In stead of the 15 lakh quintal of new soya seeds which are usually required before every sowing season, the quantity of seeds required has reduced to 6.86 lakh quintal, the officials said.
Maharashtra, which is the country’s second largest soyabean growing state, contributes 35-40% of the total output nationally. Last year, around 6.86 lakh quintals of new seeds were required. This season, around 10.38 lakh quintals of new seeds are available with the government, Jayant Deshmukh, director, Quality Control and Planning, Maharashtra Agriculture Department, said.
The shortage of Soyabean seeds had posed a challenge last year and therefore the government decided to run an awareness campaign among farmers to use their own seeds, he said.
The total requirement of soyabean seeds for kharif season is usually pegged at 3.43 lakh tonne, whereas the availability is estimated at 2.73 lakh tonne every year. Soyabean was planted on some 12.03 million hectares with the domestic soyabean output in 2013-14 (October-September) estimated at 12 million tonne by Soyabean Processors Association of India (SOPA).
According to SOPA officials, every year, there is an apprehension about the monsoon. “Around 3-4 inches of rain is required for sowing operations. We do not expect any issues this season. I do not expect acreage to be a concern this year,” Rajesh Aggrawal, executive committee member, SOPA said.