KENDRAPARA: Acute shortage of paddy seeds has hit farmers of the district ahead of the kharif planting season. A large number of farmers alleged that paddy seeds are not available in the market and the existing stock is being sold at a premium by dealers.
Sixty-year-old Bhaskar Jena, a farmer of Bharatapur village, claimed that the district Agriculture officials are not making efforts to supply paddy seeds on time. The upcoming planting season has sparked a rush for quality paddy seeds but the shortage has hit farmers who want the State Government to step in and resolve the crisis.
“When there is a shortage in the market, unscrupulous traders sell sub-standard seeds to farmers to meet the demand, thereby contributing to poor production of paddy. If the issue is not resolved soon, it will severely damage crop prospects,” said Ashok Sahoo, a farmer of Patkura.As the district administration is unable to meet the demand, a large number of farmers are forced to purchase sub-standard paddy seeds from the open market at a price ranging from Rs 1,800 to Rs 2,000. The administration has broken the backbone of farmers by not supplying sufficient seeds to them, said farmer leader and president of the district unit of Krushak Sabha Umesh Chandra Singh.
The official subsidised rate of paddy seeds is Rs 1,600 per quintal.An official of the district Agriculture office said, “Farmers of the district have planned to raise paddy over 1.23 lakh hectare for which they need about 75,000 quintals of seeds. The Agriculture department will supply 26 per cent of the required paddy seeds from Odisha State Seed Corporation and Seed Village Programme to farmers.”
Contacted, Assistant Agriculture Officer of Kendrapara Satyabrat Sahoo said, “Till date, we have received only 3,000 quintals of Puja, Sarala, CR-1018 and Swarna varieties under the district seed village programme to provide to farmers.”
He said to narrow down the mismatch between demand and supply, the Agriculture department implemented the Seed Village programme last year to produce quality paddy seeds in the district. “Farmers enrolled in the programme will provide 8,000 quintals of paddy seeds to us soon. We have also urged Odisha State Seed Corporation to provide 12,000 quintals of paddy seeds to farmers of the district,” Sahoo added.
Rabi procurement picks up in Koraput
Jeypore: A month after opening of the mandis in Koraput district, procurement of the rabi paddy has picked up momentum in the region in the past three days. According to sources, about 11,000 quintal paddy has been procured by PACS from farmers in the district so far. The State Government had directed District Civil Supply Corporation to procure 3.67 lakh quintal of paddy stock from farmers for the ensuing rabi season.
Accordingly, the District Procurement Committee conducted a meeting chaired by Collector K S Chakravarti recently. It was decided to open about 51 mandis in Jeypore and Koraput sub-divisions from May 5. However, only 10 mandis are operational in Jeypore sub-division. However, delayed water supply to paddy lands and changing local weather conditions delayed rabi paddy harvesting by a month. This delayed the procurement of the crop too.
Farmers of Jeypore, Borrigumma, Kundra and Kotpad pockets started harvesting the crop only seven days back. Thus, the paddy transaction started in the mandis with pouring of the stock. Official sources in Civil Supply Department said about 11,000 quintal paddy had already been procured in the last three days from 10 mandis.