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India plans to launch new national seed missionqrcode

Nov. 21, 2011

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Nov. 21, 2011
The Indian ministry of agriculture has decided to come up with a national seed mission over and above all its existing seed policies. Officials said the seed sector needs a policy initiative which was expected to come with the new Seed Act 2004, replacing the current Seed Act 1966. However, this Bill is still building a consensus on the crucial issues of marketing only certified seeds and compensation to farmers for spurious seeds.

At present, both certified and non-certified seeds are available in the market, while the new Bill makes it mandatory for all seeds to be certified by the government before selling them in the market. Besides improving the production and availability of quality certified seeds in the domestic market, the new policy aims to make bigger dent into the internal market for exports by making Indian a hub. To this effect, the department intends to achieve a 10 per cent market share in the total global export of seeds by 2020. For this, the mission has asked for an outlay of Rs 10 crore to support international co-operation in seeds by implementing international treaties and schemes of seed export promotion.

Another significant objective is incentive-based assistance to support private sector seed producing organisations in collaboration with the public sector. For this purpose, a total of Rs 45 crore has been sought as credit linked subsidy.The new National Seed Mission (NSM) has been proposed to the planning commission for a plan outlay of Rs 3,773.4 crore for a period of five years starting 2011-12 of eleventh plan and run through the twelfth five-year plan. The allocation of the sixth year will be decided later. Officials explained that the difference between the existing schemes and the new mission is that it gives a incentive based focus to development of quality seeds which will be later certified and focused incentives to seed sector.

"At present, incentives for seed sector are spread across other agricultural schemes while polices are made by seed department. In the new mission, not only the seed department of the ministry of agriculture will handle the funds, part of the funds will be allocated to the state seed department so that the approach of the seed development will be bottoms up and less bureaucratic,” explained an official source. The other objectives of the mission to increase production of certified quality seeds, upgrade quality of farm saved seeds so as to produce 100 quintals of seed each year through farmers and thus to enhance the seed replacement rate (SRR). Besides, the mission proposes to establish a seed reserve at regional levels to met requirement during natural calamities and upgradation of public sector seed producing agencies.

The various components of the scheme for which funds have been sought include intervention at the seed planning stage, seed production level, increase SRR by promotion of variety replacement, intervention for seed infrastructure, quality control and interest subsidy for working capital for seed producing organisations. Formation of seed bank, transport subsidy on movement of seeds to north eastern states, application of biotechnology etc. are the some other interventions for seed promotion.

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