Updated: July 9, 2020 10:41:17 pm
THE STATE agriculture department has received more than 50,000 complaints from farmers, whose soybean seeds have reportedly failed to germinate. The department has filed FIRs against 23 seed companies, who are in the process of replacing the seeds for farmers. Seeds from Mahabeej, the state seed corporation, and some private companies had failed to germinate. The companies will face action under the Seed Act, which allows farmers to get compensation for losses incurred.
Germination failure stumped farmers in Maharashtra, who took advantage of the timely advent of the monsoon and easy availability of labour to accelerate sowing operations. But soon they started reporting germination failure due to which they were forced to sow again.
State agriculture officials said there were three major reasons behind germination failure, with inferior quality of seeds being one. Being a non-hybrid variant, farmers can use soybean seeds from their fields to take the next crop. Seed companies treat these seeds and undertake germination tests before selling them as seeds for the next season.
Heavy rain during last year’s harvest took a toll on seed quality, in turn affecting the availability of quality seeds for this season. Insufficient soil moisture during sowing and deep sowing of seeds are also being attributed for germination failure.
Data from the agriculture department shows that to date, it has received close to 50,000 complaints from farmers with regard to seed failure. As many as 37,000 complaints have been received from Latur, Beed, Osmanabad, Parbhani and Hingoli alone, while 7,000 complaints have come from Aurangabad district. Similarly, Amravati and other districts of Vidarbha have also reported some complaints.
The Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court has lodged a sou motu PIL to probe the matter. The two-judge bench of Justice T V Nalawade and Justice Shrikant J Kulkarni has come rapped the state government and the agriculture department over their lax attitude. The judges have even asked the joint director, agriculture, Aurangabad division, to attend the hearing, failing which he will be arrested. Farmers have also been asked to lodge complaints under Section 420 (cheating) of the Indian Penal Code against companies whose seeds have failed to germinate
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