BHUBANESWAR: Farmers have started preparing land for sowing kharif paddy seeds after a good spell of rain in many districts due to the cyclonic storm Yaas but low demand of certified seeds this season has become a cause of worry for the Odisha State Seeds Corporation (OSSC).
The State government has prepositioned 4 lakh tonne of certified seeds against its target of 5.36 lakh tonne for the current kharif season. The OSSC is reported to have sold 1.23 lakh tonne of certified seeds across the State as against 2.8 lakh tonne during the corresponding period last year.
Attributing the low demand to lack of drive by registered dealers for sale of seeds, sources in OSSC said that many dealers have not received the subsidy amount for the seeds that they have already sold.
As per the agreement with the OSSC, the registered dealers - a mix of Primary Agriculture Cooperative Societies (PACS) and private firms - have to pay the full cost of the seeds (they lift) upfront to OSSC and sell the same at the subsidised rate fixed by the government to the farmers.
The subsidy amount of the dealers will be transferred to their accounts through direct benefit transfer (DBT) by the Agriculture department. The OSSC has already written to the Agriculture department for release of Rs 13 crore towards subsidy but the latter is yet to respond.
"Buying seeds from the corporation by paying full cost and selling it to farmers at subsidised rate with a low commission is not remunerative. Delay in release of subsidy amount by the government has put us in a spot due to liquidity crunch," said Subrat Manoranjan Majhi, a seed dealer of Delanga in Puri district. When private dealers are selling seeds on credit, farmers are attracted to take seeds from them.
The demand for government seeds is falling, he added.The other reason for the low off-take of government seeds is the restriction on the opening of PACS centres for sale of seeds. The sale centres of the PACS are open for a limited time from 7 am to 11 am.
All-in-cost of paddy seeds - Rs 3,280 per quintal
Cost of seeds that are over 10 years old - Rs 2,280 per quintal
Below 10 yrs seeds - Rs 1,950 per quintal
Certified seeds sold so far to dealers - 2.05 lakh tonne
Dealers sold to farmer - 1.23 lakh tonne