Soyabean farmers in parts of Maharashtra have started reporting early germination failure, which has put them in a fix.
Growers in some parts of the state have blamed inferior quality of seed, while in some cases, insufficient soil moisture is being blamed. Agriculture Commissioner Suhas Diwase confirmed the problem but said it is restricted to some talukas of particular districts.
Timely onset of the monsoons had pushed farmers to hasten sowing activities, especially in Marathwada and Vidarbha. Soyabean is a major kharif crop, with the state reporting around 40 to 42 lakh hectares of sowing. The oilseed is sown in June and harvested October with the oil marketing year lasting till next September.
Well before the sowing season, the agriculture department had asked farmers to prioritise usage of their homegrown seeds. Also, the department had conducted around 3 lakh workshops to educate farmers about conducting germination tests and treating their seeds. The lockdown, seed manufacturers said, had put a stop to the process of certifying seeds and as such, most seeds have been sold as “truthfully labelled”. The early sowing, however, failed to help, as in many cases, the seeds failed to germinate. Diwase said complaints came in from some talukas of Yavatmal, Beed, Ahmednagar, Osmanabad and Pune.
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“Seeds of some private players and a particular variety of Mahabeej (335) have failed to germinate. Also, there have been germination failures either due to deep sowing (seeds being planted too deep in the soil) or early sowing, wherein the seeds failed to germinate in want of proper soil moisture,” he said.
Diwase said the problem has been referred to the agricultural universities, which will form a special team to investigate. “Maharashtra Seeds Corporation Limited has already started the process of investigating and replacing the seeds that have failed to germinate,” he added.
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