BHUBANESHWAR: Farmers indifference to the direct benefit transfer (DBT) scheme has put the Odisha State Seeds Corporation (OSSC) in a fix.
Against a target of 1 lakh quintals, the state owned OSSC has procured 30,000 quintals of certified groundnut seeds for supply to the farmers during the current rabi season. This a part of the seed replacement plan of the state government to provide quality seeds to the farmers for higher production.
"This is the peak sowing season of groundnut crop but there is no demand for seeds. The corporation has so far sold 1077 quintals," sources in OSSC said.
Under the DBT scheme, farmers have to pay the actual cost of the seed upfront. The subsidy amount will be transferred to the farmers' accounts subsequently.
Prior to the DBT scheme, the farmers were buying the seeds at subsidised rate. Now they have to pay the full cost. As farmers facing cash crunch due to demonetisation, they do not wish to buy seeds from the corporation at Rs 84 a kg as the market price is about Rs 60 a kg, the sources added.
The state level seed pricing committee has fixed the price of of certified groundnut seeds at Rs 8,400 per quintal with a subsidy of Rs 2,400 per quintal. In effect, the price of the seed supplied by the state government is equal to the market price.
The total area under peanut cultivation in the state is about 2.5 lakh hectare. Being a major crop in rabi season, the government had planned to cover 1.7 lakh hectare under the groundnut cultivation.
The total seeds requirement of the state has been estimated at 3 lakh quintals. With a target to replace 30 percent of the seeds with certified varieties, the government has asked the state seeds corporation to procure one lakh quintals of seeds.
Jajpur, Cuttack, Puri, Balasore, Angul and Dhenkanal are the major peanut growing districts in the coastal region of the state. However, the groundnut cultivation area in the state is shrinking due to lack of institutional supports and buy back arrangements by the government.