In a relief to soybean farmers in Maharashtra, the Madhya Pradesh government has taken back its earlier ban on the sale and transport of soybean seeds outside the state. This order followed intervention by the Maharashtra agriculture department against the order with the union agriculture ministry.
In April, senior agriculture officers in the districts of Indore and Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh had banned the transportation and sale of soybean seeds outside their district borders. This decision had put the seed manufacturers of Maharashtra in a quandary as 3-4 lakh quintals of seeds meant for the state was stuck in Madhya Pradesh.
After Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra is the largest soybean-growing state in the country. Unlike their counterpart in Madhya Pradesh, farmers here do not reuse their seeds and generally buy them from the market. The state requires 33 lakh quintals of seeds at the start of the kharif season. Following the intervention of the state agriculture department, the above order was rescinded on May 4.
In the upcoming kharif, acreage of both soybean and cotton is expected to cross 40 lakh hectares but the agriculture department has assured of ample seed availability. Dilip Zende, director, quality control, department of agriculture, Maharashtra, said as against 1.5 crore packets of cotton seeds required in general, the state has 2 crore packets. While the placement of seeds has been completed in the village level shops, sales of the same would start from June 1.
“This is one of the many-pronged approaches taken by the state agriculture department to prevent the spread of pink boll worm (PBW) infestation in the crop,” he said.
Given good returns from soybeans, the acreage of the oilseed is expected to cross 42-43 lakh hectares in the state. Ahead of the kharif season, the agriculture department had carried out a major drive among farmers to preserve and reuse their seeds.
Zende said farmers have around 30 lakh quintals of seeds with them while the total availability of seeds in the state is 40 lakh quintals. “We do not expect any shortage in the season,” he said.
Companies procure raw seeds from farmers and after processing them, get agencies to certify them before they are released in the market.
“As procurement prices have increased this year, the cost of seed would also be higher as compared to last year,” said a seed manufacturer from Madhya Pradesh.