While kharif sowing on 107. 48 lakh hectares or 75 per cent of the total 142 lakh hectares has been completed across the state by the first week of July, the process of registering panchanamas and disbursing compensation to farmers, who were sold spurious soybean seeds, continues to remain a distant dream. In the current kharif, farmers had to pay Rs 2,300 per bag of soybean seeds, with each bag containing 35 kg seeds.
Sources in the agriculture department said more than 36,000 complaints on duplicate soybean have been submitted.
In Maharashtra, more than 30 lakh farmers are engaged in soybean cultivation, which is mostly concentrated in Vidarbha and Marathwada regions.
State Agriculture Minister, Dadasaheb Bhuse, Wednesday said: “The process of recording panchanamas for fake seeds is underway and farmers are being provided quality seeds.” Krishi Kendra assistants in rural belt, however, said personal assessment and recording of complaints of every farmer would take time. “The Covid-19 pandemic, coupled with the monsoon, is making the exercise difficult. At the moment, directives are to replace fake seeds with quality ones, but there is no word on extending financial aid to farmers whose input cost includes fertilisers and farm labour,” an official said.
Former state agriculture minister, Anil Bonde, said, “The state government should bring legislation for soybean seeds on lines of the Cotton Seeds Act that makes bogus seed supply a criminal offence and makes seeds companies accountable.”