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Seed industry expects regular kharif, works to remove logistics breaks

Labour issues mainly due to the lockdown-induced migration is the main reason for a lower than usual sales of vegetable seeds this kharif.

Written by Parthasarathi Biswas | Pune |
April 26, 2021 11:47:59 pm
Maize seed sales had increased by around 10 per cent last season as prices had dipped. (Representational)

The announcement of a good monsoon has rekindled the hopes of a good kharif, with the seed industry optimistic of good sales. Sales of cotton, soybean and maize seed is expected to be good, while sales of vegetable seed would be lower than usual.

Labour issues mainly due to the lockdown-induced migration is the main reason for a lower than usual sales of vegetable seeds this kharif.

Last season, cotton and soybean traded much above their government-declared minimum support price (MSP). Thus, farmers are expected to increase acreage of these two crops in the coming season.

Dr Ram Kaundinya, director general of the Federation of Seed Industries of India (FSII), said they feel India’s cotton acreage would see a rise. Similar rise would be seen in soybean acreage as the oilseed had also seen good returns for the farmer.

On an average, India sees the sales of 4-4.5 packets of cotton seed and around 12 lakh tonnes of soybean seeds is necessary for the country’s seed requirement. Maize seed sales had increased by around 10 per cent last season as prices had dipped.

“On an average, the country’s seed requirement for maize is between 1-1.5 lakh tonnes and this year, chances are that the sales would come back to their normal levels,” he said.

Vegetable crops are expected to be a pain point as labour troubles are expected in the fields. “Last year, during the lockdown vegetable farmers had complained of labour problems due to the lockdown. As the lockdown returns, we feel that farmers would stay away from vegetable crops in fear of labour and market losses,” Kaundinya added.

The market of vegetable seeds is mainly cornered by higher yielding hybrids, which are marketed by MNCs. More than 98 percent of the cotton seeds sold in the country are the genetically modified BT cotton.

With the lockdowns making a strong come back in various parts of the country, the seed industry is working closely with the state governments to ensure that logistics are not affected. Last year, the suddenly-imposed lockdown had caught the industry unaware. In other parts of the country, seed manufacturers had also faced difficulties in seed certification and packaging.

“We are closely working with the government to ensure that the placement of seed is not affected,” he said.

Already cotton seeds required in northern part of the country had reached the village-level shops. Around 90 lakh packets of seed, required by the northern states sales, is almost over.

 

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