BHUBANESWAR: Concerned over low offtake of certified paddy seeds by the primary agriculture cooperative societies (PACS), the Cooperation department has directed its district officials to take immediate steps to improve the seeds sale before the onset of monsoon.
The PACS/LAMPS and the registered dealers of the Odisha State Seeds Corporation (OSSC) have sold 1.84 lakh quintal of paddy seeds till June 14, 2022 as against an available stock of 2.98 lakh quintal. Seeds sale during the same period last year was over 2.62 lakh quintal.
"It is ascertained that the lifting of seeds by PACS/LAMPS is not satisfactory. As per the discussion made in the crop weather watch meeting held on June 13, 2022, you are directed to take immediate steps for lifting of seeds from the Odisha State Seeds Corporation before the onset of monsoon and report compliance," said a letter issued by the Registrar of Cooperative Societies to deputy registrar and assistant registrar of cooperative societies.
Seeds sale in Bargarh division covering five districts of Bargarh, Sambalur, Jharsuguda, Deogarh and Sundargarh is only 18,794 quintal against an available stock of 47,680 quintal. Bargarh and Sambalpur are considered to be the rice bowl of the State. Over 33,362 quintal of seeds were sold during the same period last year.
Sources in the Cooperation department said that the PACS/LAMPS and dealers appointed by the seeds corporation are not lifting seeds from the corporation due to poor demand from the farmers.
While the Agriculture department is reluctant to withdraw the direct benefit transfer (DBT) scheme for sale of seeds, the farmers are not willing to pay the full cost of the critical input to get the subsidy later, the sources added.
The issue was discussed at a high meeting chaired by Agriculture Minister Ranendra Pratap Swain. The Minister advised the department to reconsider the DBT scheme as farmers are not mobile savvy and internet is an issue in rural areas.
Taking advantage of this situation private seed traders from neighbouring states have entered the Odisha markets and reportedly doing a roaring business. Though the quality of seeds supplied by the private traders is not of proven quality, farmers preferred them over certified seeds of OSSC due to price factor.