India: Seed shortage to hit kharif paddy output
Jun. 4, 2018
Acute shortage of quality seeds and lack of drive by the Agriculture Department to increase the seed replacement rate are likely to hit the paddy production target set for the Kharif 2018.
Anticipating normal monsoon, the State Government has set a target to produce 85.75 lakh tonnes of rice with the productivity of 2450 kg per hectare, spreading over of 35 lakh hectares of land.
As per the kharif plan, the Agriculture department has planned to supply 4.75 lakh quintals of certified seeds to the farmers as against the requirement of 17.5 lakh quintals. If the target is met, the department would achieve the seed replacement rate (SRR) by only 27.14 per cent as against the national target of 35 per cent.
The State run Odisha State Seeds Corporation (OSSC), which was entrusted with the job of seed procurement, is reported to have procured about 2 lakh quintals of certified paddy seeds from registered seed growers under village seeds programme, sources in the corporation said.
As the State Government has deferred the implementation of the direct benefit transfer (DBT) scheme in view of the complaints from farmers and poor off-take of quality seeds and fertiliser, the demand for paddy seeds this kharif will be more, said Dilip Baral, a progressive farmer from Puri district.The State Seeds Corporation’s dilly dallying attitude in payment of seed cost to the farmers is stated to be prime reason for the low procurement.
As per the MoU signed with seed growing farmers, OSSC had to pay initial payment to the tune of 60 per cent of the seed cost within seven days of receiving certified seeds. The final payment was to be made within one month of the receipt of the report from seed testing laboratory. However, the Corporation directed its seed processing officers (SPOs) to release the dues of seed growers on the basis of the laboratory’s report. Though the farmers started supplying seeds from December last year, they had to wait till May this year to get their dues only after the matter was raised in the Assembly.
In further violation of the Mou with seed growers, the Corporation debited the packaging cost including the cost of the polymer bag from the seed cost payable to the farmers. Aggrieved over this anti-farmer attitude of the Corporation, the seed growers preferred to sell their balance stock as non-seed in open market resulting in a shortfall of over 2.5 lakh quintals of certified seeds.