BHUBANESWAR: Lukewarm response from farmers to the direct benefit transfer (DBT) of seeds subsidy scheme has forced the State Government to reconsider supply of certified seeds at subsidised rate.
As a majority of the farmers are not in a position to make upfront payments for certified seeds, the State Government has decided in principle to supply seeds at subsidised rates and the subsidy amount will go to agencies to be nominated for sale of seeds, official sources said.
The decision was taken recently by Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare department after witnessing drastic fall in the seed replacement rate (SRR), it 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 15 per cent during kharif 2017,” 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 Odisha State Seeds Corporation (OSSC) against its target to sell 30,000 quintals. The corporation was selling more than one lakh quintals of groundnut seeds before implementation of DBT.
Similarly, the State-owned corporation registered a low off-take of moong and biri (black gram) seeds. The corporation has sustained a loss of about `30 crore due to the drastic fall in demand for certified seed after introduction of DBT. Though the State Government came to the rescue of OSSC by providing a subvention of `7.5 crore, the corporation is still wondering how to make up the balance loss.
Recently, some progressive farmers of the State took up the issue with Agriculture Secretary Sourabh Garg and requested him to resume the supply of seeds at subsidised rate for at least three years before implementing the DBT scheme. They further requested Garg not to involve any private organisation for sale of certified seeds under subsidy scheme.Meanwhile, the Centre has modified the DBT model for fertilisers for similar reasons. As per the modified scheme, farmers will get chemical fertilisers at subsidised rate and the subsidy amount will be paid to the manufacturing companies for two years.
At a loss
For 2017 rabi season farmers purchased only 2000 quintals of certified groundnut seeds from OSSC against target of 30,000 quintals
The Corporation was selling more than one lakh quintals of groundnut seeds before DBT
OSSC registered low off-take of moong and biri seeds
Big blow for corporation which sustained a loss of about `30 cr
State Govt came to the rescue of OSSC by providing a subvention of `7.5 cr