Bhubaneswar, August 24 (LocalWire): The state government has sought support from premiere agro research organisations and institutions to develop climate-resilient seeds to drive agriculture sector productivity growth in Odisha.
The government has already roped in researchers from the Odisha University of Agriculture and Technology (OUAT) along with the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) to develop climate-resilient seeds that can suit the 10 agro-climatic zones of Odisha, a senior officer of the state agriculture department said.
“Seed is one of the most important inputs that enhance agriculture productivity. Use of quality seeds appropriate to the regions in the state will be encouraged through a programme of differentiated subsidy and other incentives,” the officer said.
While the general policy of subsidy for seeds will continue, it will be calibrated to encourage more appropriate seeds from a regional, ecological and farmers’ income point of view. The state government has decided to discourage the use of sub-optimal seeds by the farmers.
The official further informed that the state will lead the adoption of improved seeds through a crop-wise and area-wise (season-wise) actual seed rate per hectare. This will be mapped with desired and targeted seed replacement rate (SRR), and varietal replacement rate (VRR).
According to sources, the state government is looking at increasing the SRR to 33% for self-pollinated crops and 50% of cross-pollinated crops in alternating years.
“This will be done by phasing-out old varieties of seeds and replacing them with hybrid and improved varieties,” the officer said, adding that the quality of climate-resilient seeds will be monitored as per the parameters outlined in the Seed Act, 1966.
The state government is also working towards upgrading the seed testing facilities, both in terms of personnel and technical expertise. It will also undertake regular monitoring of performance to maintain the quality of test results.
“To tackle the problem of heterogeneity in seed licensing procedures across state, model guidelines for seed licensing will be issued. In addition to seed supplied through the Seeds Corporation, the use of certified seeds from private companies will also be encouraged. The variety of seeds developed and produced by private sectors will be duly evaluated before giving it to farmers. Quality enforcement squads will be set up to ensure the quality of seeds in accordance with the provisions of the Seed Control Order, 1983,” the official stated quoting the latest draft agriculture policy report.
As per the Seed Reserve Policy, 5% of the season’s paddy requirement and 10% of the non-paddy requirement will be reserved by seed supplying agencies for disaster contingencies as a renewable seed reserve.