BENGALURU: Following instances of farmers alleging shortage of seeds for the Kharif sowing season, Agriculture Minister BC Patil reiterated that the state is not facing shortage of seeds or fertilisers.Patil told TNIE that the shortage being reported in some districts is largely of soybean seeds, owing to farmers changing crop patterns. Incidents of violence and protests by farmers in Ballari and Aurad prompted the Congress to raise the matter.
On Thursday, Chittapur MLA Priyank Kharge warned the government of tough times if seed shortage is not addressed. “The BJP government claims to be pro-farmer, but their actions and policies suggest otherwise. There is an extreme shortage of seeds in the state. The first rains have come in, farmers are ready to sow, but no seeds. Tough times ahead if @CMofKarnataka doesn’t swing into action,” Kharge tweeted.
While farmer leaders like Kuruboor Shantakumar insisted there was a shortage of fertilisers like Di-ammonium Phosphate (DAP) and seeds like soybean, cotton and chilli, Patil said the shortage of soybean seeds was due to increased demand. “The government does not supply chilli seeds. Farmers buy them from a private company. We have spoken to the company to enhance supply. There is no shortage of cotton seeds anywhere, but soybean shortage has been reported because farmers have changed cropping pattern,” he insisted.
Patil added that compared to 1.28 lakh quintals of soybean seeds distributed last year, 1.67 lakh quintals were distributed this year. “We have increased it by about 40,000 quintals. We have to distribute within the subsidy amount of Rs 180 crore,” he said.