With the timely onset of monsoon and the State experiencing more than normal rainfall, kharif operations are going on in full swing.
Even as the Agriculture department claimed to have delivered 4.40 lakh quintals of certified paddy seeds for distribution among farmers, reports coming from the districts said there is huge deficit of seeds while the demand is more.
There is huge demand for BPT and Sambamasuri variety of paddy seeds in Ganjam district, but the Government has failed to meet the demand, reports from the district said.
Farmers of Kalahandi, Nuapada, Sonepur, Balangir, Boudh and Ganjam districts are complaining shortage of paddy seeds.
After the Agriculture department withdrew from sale of seeds, the job of seed distribution has been given to 944 primary agriculture cooperative societies (PACs) and about 3,000 private dealers.
Earlier, certified seeds were available at two places in each block, including the block headquarters. The Agriculture department had 628 sales centres for seed distribution. It was easier for the farmers to have their requirement from the block headquarters.
After the closure of the sales centres, the farmers are not aware of new sales centres run by PACs and the private dealers, said farmers’ representative Ashok Pradhan from Sambalpur.
Of the 3.60 lakh quintals of paddy seeds supplied by the Odisha State Seeds Corporation (OSSC), about 1.5 lakh quintals have been delivered to PACs while two lakh quintals have been given to private dealers.
Sources in OSSC said the certified seeds supplied to private dealers have found their way to West Bengal and Chhattisgarh as the demand and market price is more than Odisha.
Since there is a huge demand for Swarna variety of paddy seeds in the State, the Government is supplying the seed at a subsidised rate of `15 per kg. However, Swaran seed commands a price of `35 a kg in West Bengal.
The all-in-cost of all varieties of certified seeds other than Swarna is `24.90 per kg while the cost is `25.76 for Swarna. The Government is supplying the other varieties to the farmers at `13.50.
While the PACs are not adequately equipped for sale of paddy seeds, the private dealers are allegedly indulging in blackmarketing of seed resulting in scarcity. Besides, there is no mechanism to monitor the private dealers, the sources said.
The total paddy seed requirement of the State was estimated at 26 lakh quintals. The Government has planned to supply over 6.67 lakh quintals of certified seeds to the farmers.
Expecting a normal monsoon, the State Government has set a moderate target for producing 100.69 lakh tonnes of foodgrain, including 84 lakh tonnes of rice.