India: Seed shortage may not impact soyabean area
May. 7, 2018
The Agriculture Ministry, at the recent conference on kharif campaign, had estimated that there could be a shortage of around 9,300 tonnes of certified soyabean seeds. The seed shortage mainly was on account of the widespread destruction of seed farms in Telangana, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh due to unseasonal rains last year.
VS Bhatia, Director, Indian Institute of Soyabean Research, said the shortage of certified seeds will not have any impact on the acreage as farmers will use the seeds saved from the previous crop. The seed replacement ratio is around 35 per cent in soyabean and farmers have been replacing the seeds once in three years.
Bhatia said the outlook for the crop in the coming season was good on forecast of a normal monsoon and the prices have been attractive for most part of the year.
“We expect to recoup the area lost to other crops last year. There’s likely to be an increase of 10-15 per cent over last year’s acreage of 10.5 million hectares. Besides Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra, we expect acreages to increase in Karnataka, Telangana and Gujarat,” he said.
Davish Jain, Chairman, Soyabean Processors Association of India (SOPA), said the shortage of certified seeds is miniscule compared to the requirement of 1.2 million tonnes and will not have any impact on the acreage. “Besides, only around 15 per cent of the farmers use certified seeds, while the rest use their own produce,” Jain said. He attributed the lower productivity of Indian soyabean farmers to the higher usage of saved seeds.
As soyabean is one of the few crops that has been ruling higher than the minimum support price (MSP) levels for most part of the year, farmers are keen to expand the area, Jain said. “Crops like cotton and urad could get replaced by soyabean in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh,” he added.
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