HYDERABAD: The International Seed Testing Association (ISTA) asked the Indian government on Friday to be wary of unsolicited mail packages containing seeds after several people in the USA and Canada received such packages in the past week. K Keshavulu, vice president of ISTA and director of Telangana State Seed and Organic Cert i f i c ation (TSSOC) has issued a high alert in Hyderabad, as it considered to be the seed capital of the country.
Keshavulu asked State authorities, farmers and seed companies to vigilant of this brushing scam. “These unsolicited seed packets may spread crop diseases and the poisonous seeds may damage the agriculture and allied sectors and also pose health and environmental problems,” Keshavulu said. “The country has been importing and exporting seeds of some crops. In the wake of unsolicited packages of seeds creating panic in some countries, people, farmers, seed agencies and associations, the agriculture department, farmers and other agencies should be on high alert.
All of them should take precautionary measures,” Keshavulu said. He called upon the people and farmers to inform the officials concerned if they found unsolicited seed packets. Keshavulu told Express that seed packets were delivered to several people in USA, even when they had not asked for them. Preliminary enquiries by US Department of Agriculture (USDA) confirmed that such seed packets were coming from China. USA termed it as ‘brushing scam’ and ‘agriculture smuggling’.