BHUBANESWAR: Even as kharif operation is in full swing after a low pressure triggered good monsoon rains across the State, the low demand for subsidised paddy seeds by farmers from State Government agencies has put a question mark on the efficacy of the direct benefit transfer (DBT) scheme.
Odisha State Seeds Corporation (OSSC), a State Government agency, was given a target to sell 4 lakh quintals of certified paddy seeds to farmers during the current kharif. The corporation is reported to have sold 2.4 lakh quintals of seeds under DBT.
With no more demand for seeds, the OSSC is now in a fix how to dispose of the balance stock. The all-in-cost price of certified paddy seeds has been fixed at Rs 2,597 per quintal. The farmers will get a subsidy of Rs 997 per quintal.
Under the DBT scheme, farmers have to pay the actual cost of seeds upfront. The subsidy amount will be transferred to the farmers’ accounts subsequently.
Prior to the DBT scheme, the farmers were buying seeds at subsidised rates. As they have to pay the full cost now, farmers facing cash crunch do not wish to buy their entire requirement of seeds from the corporation. Either they use the paddy stock of their own as seed or go for the cheaper varieties available in the market, sources in OSSC said.
The low off-take seeds from the corporation which supplied the farm input through Primary Agriculture Cooperative Societies (PACS) will have a negative impact on the seed replacement rate (SRR) targeted by the State Government, sources added.
“The SRR in case of paddy has reached nearly 35 per cent prior to the implementation of DBT in 2005-16. It was less than 25 per cent during kharif 2016. We apprehend that the SRR will be below 20 per cent this year,” said an officer of Agriculture department.
The DBT proved to be a dampener during 2017 Rabi season when farmers purchased only 2000 quintals of certified groundnut seeds from the corporation against its target to sell 30,000 quintals. The corporation was selling more than one lakh quintals of groundnut seeds before the implementation of DBT. There is a drastic fall in the demand for moong and biri (black gram) seeds from the corporation, the OSSC sources added.
No more demand
● The all-in-cost price of certified paddy seeds has been fixed at Rs 2,597 per quintal
● Farmers will get a subsidy of Rs 997 per quintal
● Under DBT, farmers have to pay the actual cost of seeds upfront
● Prior to DBT, farmers were buying seeds at subsidised rates
● As they have to pay full cost, farmers facing cash crunch do not wish to buy their entire requirement of seeds from the corporation
● They either use own paddy stock or go for cheaper varieties