State Agriculture Minister Dadasaheb Bhuse on Tuesday assured to compensate farmers who had purchased seeds from the Maharashtra State Seeds Corporation Limited, also known as MAHABEEJ, if they failed to germinate after sowing.
The move comes after soybean growers from parts of the state reported early germination failure while blaming the inferior quality of seeds and insufficient soil moisture. A major kharif crop in Maharashtra, the oilseed is sowed on around 40 lakh hectares that requires 10.40 lakh quintal seeds.
“The MAHABEEJ will be asked to replace the substandard seeds with quality seeds,” Bhuse said.
The minister added that a committee had also been constituted to look into the complaints of soybean farmers. The Parbhani Agriculture University, which has expertise in soybean crop, has been entrusted with the task to probe why the soybean seeds have not germinated, the minister said. Among the multiple aspects being looked into will be quality of the seeds, soil and climatic conditions.
Bhuse also directed all district administrations to deploy additional squads to identify companies selling “fake” seeds.
The minister has urged farmers across the state not to rush kharif sowing unless there is a full-fledged monsoon. “It is our ardent appeal to farmers to strictly follow the advisory and not rush kharif sowing unless there is a good rain,” Bhuse said. Any haste, the minister said, could be detrimental as often there was a long pause after the first spell of showers.
After receiving complaints from farmers, the agriculture minister had last week had toured Marathwada and carried out surprise checks. “There were facts in farmers’ complaints. The state government will not allow any officials or companies indulging in sale of fake seeds to go unpunished. The agriculture department has ordered stern action,” he said.
Bhuse visited Beed and Osmanabad districts in Marathwada and Solapur, Kolhapur, Sangli and Satara districts in Western Maharashtra to review the agriculture department meetings following the onset of monsoon and kharif sowing.
Bhuse also said the state has sufficient stock of seeds and fertilisers. “The state government has made provision for 20,000 quintals of seeds. An additional stock of 50,000 metric tonne urea has been stocked to cater to a total of 1.50 crore farmers. A total of 18,000 farmers’ groups are being provided with advisory through WhatsApp and Krishi Kendras to exercise caution and not fall prey to dubious companies selling fake seeds,” he said.
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