The Odisha Seeds Producers Association on Sunday urged the Government to provide seed production and distribution subsidy directly to the registered farmers producing certified seeds.
Accusing the Odisha State Seeds Corporation (OSSC) of exploiting the private seed producers, association president Arabinda Sahu said the state- owned corporation is more inclined to do the job of a middleman than becoming self- sufficient in production of certified seeds.
While the State’s requirement of certified groundnut seed for the next rabi season is more than 1.20 lakh quintals, the corporation has the capacity to produce only 10,000 quintals. The registered seed producers are ready to provide 40,000 quintals of quality groundnut seeds, but the corporation has floated tenders to procure 90,000 quintals of seeds from outside the State, Sahu told this paper.
Had OSSC encouraged the farmers to go for seed production under seed village programme, huge subsidy provided by the Centre could have gone to the farmers. Procurement of seeds from outside the state will deprive the farmers of the subsidy while outside traders will benefit, Sahu said.
Besides, there is no guarantee that the seeds procured from outside are up to the standard because the productivity of groundnut is declining every year despite supply of certified seeds to the farmers, he added.
Claiming that actual cost of groundnut seed is Rs 8,000 a quintal, Sahu said the same is made available to the farmers at half the price. A subsidy benefit of Rs 16 crore will go to the seed producers if the corporation purchases their stock.
During last kharif season, the Seeds Corporation had supplied 16,000 quintals of groundnut seed to registered farmers under the seed village programme. The corporation procured only 19,000 quintals as against a target of one lakh quintal, Sahu said adding, the farmers are running from pillar to post to get their subsidy amount. In the 2011-12 kharif season, the corporation provided 10,578 quintals of foundation seed to farmers for production of certified seeds. The association is not confident that the corporation will procure even 10,000 quintals of seed from the producers.
Blaming OSSC for the low rate of seed replacement in the State, Sahu strongly favoured the government’s decision to involve the Odisha Agro-Industries Corporation in seed production and distribution.
Though the Centre has set a national target of 35 per cent Seed Replacement Rate (SRR) for the current kharif season, the SRR in the State is only 20 per cent.
The Government could provide 4.88 lakh quintals of paddy seeds to farmers during this kharif as against a target of 6 lakh quintals.