UMERKOTE: Despite State government providing subsidy to farmers for paddy seeds, about 65 percent land in the district has so far been cultivated with high breed varieties. Reason, farmers are wary of paying more than double the amount for government-supplied seeds and then wait for the subsidy to be deposited back in their accounts through direct benefit transfer.
Sources said, to maintain transparency as well as to eradicate corruption, the government fixed price per quintal of paddy seeds at Rs 3,380 with a rebate of Rs 1,380. But the rebate in the form of a subsidy will be transferred to the farmer’s account at a later date.
In comparison, farmers only pay Rs 1,800 per quintal of high-breed seeds directly from the market. This year, only 2,400 quintal of paddy seeds provided by the government have been sold. As per department estimates, the district needs around 50,000 quintal of paddy seeds for cultivation on 1,30,000 hectare (ha) land. Once a government seed is cultivated, the paddy produced from it can be used as seed for up to three years. So the district needs only 17,000 quintal of paddy seeds which has been slotted to be provided to farmers in the district this year. But farmers have cultivated about 65 per cent of the land with high breed seeds, sources said.
Last kharif, the department had set a target of supplying 16,600 quintal of paddy seeds in the district, but it provisioned only 13,800 quintal. “This year, we are ready to provide the required amount of paddy seeds to farmers through 13 Large Area Multipurpose Societies Scheme and more than 100 private dealers have been engaged for it. But farmers are not interested,” sources in the department said.
Additional agriculture officer Bijay Kumar Patnaik said, the department is trying to create awareness among the farmers to sow government paddy seeds in their land instead of high-breed seeds. “Once purchased, government paddy seeds can last for three seasons more. Compared to high-breed seeds, purchasing government seeds is therefore profitable,” said Patnaik.