BHUBANESWAR: Farmers’ indifference to direct benefit transfer (DBT) scheme has put the Odisha State Seeds Corporation (OSSC) in a fix.
Against a target of one lakh quintals, the State-owned OSSC has procured 30,000 quintals of certified groundnut seeds for supply to farmers during the current rabi season. This is a part of the seed replacement plan of the State Government to provide quality seeds to 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 farmers’ accounts subsequently.
Prior to the DBT scheme, the farmers were buying the seeds at a subsidised rate. Now they have to pay the full cost. As farmers face cash crunch due to demonetisation, they do not wish to buy seeds from the Corporation at `84 per kg as the market price is about `60 a kg, the sources added.
The State level seed pricing committee has fixed the price of certified groundnut seeds at `8,400 per quintal with a subsidy of `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 (ha). Groundnut being a major crop in rabi season, the Government had planned to cover 1.7 lakh ha under cultivation.
The total seed requirement of the State has been estimated at three lakh quintals. With a target to replace 30 per cent of the seeds with certified varieties, the Government has asked OSSC 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.