After harvesting, the next farm challenge: seeds for kharif
The authorities is focussed on the harvesting and advertising of the rabi crop, however, one other, no-less-immediate challenge lies forward: guaranteeing the availability of satisfactory seed in the coming Kharif planting season.
In Punjab, Haryana, and west Uttar Pradesh, the nursery sowing of paddy begins after mid-May and, in the remainder of India, from June.
In its first long-range forecast introduced on April 15, the India Meteorological Department predicted a traditional monsoon season, with complete rainfall throughout the nation at 100 % of the lengthy interval common (LPA).
Farmers can both use new seeds or plant the grain saved from earlier years’ manufacturing. Given the 15-20 % yield loss in the latter case, the choice is for planting new seeds even for open-pollinated varieties (OPVs), as in opposition to hybrids.
“Roughly 40 % of India’s paddy space is sown with recent licensed or truthfully-labeled seeds, with a substitute ratio of over 70 % in Punjab and Haryana.
Also, farmers need particular varieties — for instance, Pusa-1509, 1121 and 1718 in basmati and PR-126 and HKR-147 in non-basmati paddy — whose seeds they inventory 15-20 days earlier than nursery preparation,” A.K. Singh, Director, Indian Agricultural Research Institute ( ), New Delhi, mentioned.
In North-West India, there are sufficient native suppliers to satisfy the demand. IARI alone has 50-odd licensed growers of its basmati selection seeds, who provide 5,000-10,000 quintals every.
Basmati rice exporter KRBL Ltd produces 22,000-22,500 quintals by way of its personal contract seed cultivation program, which might cowl as much as 3.75 lakh acres at 6 kg per acre.
The downside is in eastern UP, Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, and Madhya Pradesh, the place the new seed necessities for high-yielding OPVs are largely met by corporations based mostly in South India, comparable to Nuziveedu Seeds, Kaveri Seeds, and various smaller gamers.
These corporations do contract seed manufacturing primarily in Telangana (Karimnagar, Warangal, Khammam, Nalgonda and Medak districts) and Andhra Pradesh (West and East Godavari, Krishna and Nellore districts). This seed needs to be processed, packaged, and transported to the consumer states, properly in time for nursery planting.
The urgency is bigger in hybrid seeds, which, not like OPVs, lose their vigor on re-planting, and should be purchased afresh each season. Out of the about 108 million acres of paddy space in the nation, an estimated 7.5 million is roofed beneath hybrids.
Hybrid seed penetration is extra in the poorer states, comparable to Jharkhand (25-30 % of paddy acreage), UP and Bihar (15-20 %), and Chhattisgarh and Odisha (10 %).
Even amongst these states, the penetration is larger in the Adivasi belts — 35-40 % in southwest Odisha, and 60-70 % in north Chhattisgarh and west and south Jharkhand.
The cause: In rainfed circumstances, per-acre paddy yields are 7-Eight quintals from conventional varieties and 13-14 quintals from improved OPVs, however 20-plus quintals from hybrids. That yield benefit is much less in assured irrigated areas comparable to Punjab, the place farmers get 30 quintals even with OPVs.
Around 70 % of hybrid paddy seeds — the market measurement is 45,000 tonnes; farmers sow 6 kg per acre at Rs 200-250/kg — are produced in Telangana, that too, throughout the rabi season.
Harvesting of this crop, from April 10-15 until the month-end, is at the moment on. The uncooked grains are cleaned of impurities, after which despatched for high-quality management, grading, remedy in opposition to saved grain pests, packaging, and labeling.
The packed seeds are despatched to warehouses in completely different states and from there to district-level distributors and native retailers.
“Packing and despatches occur from April to around May 15-20. This time, there’s a scarcity of each vehicle and labor at our vegetation.
While our transport is often by 20-25-tonne vehicles, we at the moment are additionally exploring motion by 800-900-tonne rail rakes,” a spokesperson for Bayer CropScience informed.
The German multinational — it has the world’s greatest hybrid paddy seed processing plant at Pragnapur close to Hyderabad — is the market chief in this phase, adopted by Corteva Agriscience (earlier a part of DowDuPont), Rallis India, SeedWorks International, Syngenta India, and VNR Seeds.
Seed availability can be a priority in maize, the place hybrid penetration is above 80 %. Again, 80 % of the annual seed manufacturing of 120,000-130,000 tonnes (farmers plant Eight kg per acre at Rs 170-180/kg) is throughout the rabi season, regardless of two-thirds of the consumption happening in kharif.
The comparatively dry climate in rabi (lowering pest and illness incidence) and uniform crop progress doable by way of irrigation (the female and male vegetation should flower at a similar time for higher pollination) is most conducive for seed cultivation.
Like in hybrid paddy, 70-80 % of maize seed manufacturing is in one state (AP), and the relaxation in Telangana and Karnataka. And with all of it — from harvesting the cobs to drying, cleaning, grading for high quality, seed remedy, and packing — happening proper now, corporations are struggling to finish despatches by mid-May.
The main gamers listed below are Corteva, Bayer, Syngenta, Rallis, Nuziveedu, Kaveri, and Advanta Seeds.
“Both the Telangana and AP governments have been very supportive in overcoming challenges relating to transportation and labor availability. Seed production is a big industry for them, similar to what IT is for Bengaluru or pharma for Baddi (Himachal Pradesh),” the Bayer spokesperson added.
The state of affairs is analogous in different kharif crops, particularly cotton and soybean. Farmers in Punjab, Haryana, and Rajasthan begin planting cotton from April 15. “The irrigated area’s seed requirement is 90 lakh packets (out of 450 lakh for all of India).
Due to the lockdown, nothing could possibly be moved by vehicles from the producing states of Telangana, AP, Maharashtra, and Gujarat. Only 50 lakh packets have arrived by items trains.
The sole breather we now have is a 15-day delay in wheat harvesting, which ought to allow the remaining portions to come back,” mentioned Ram Kaundinya, director-general, Federation of Seed Industry of India.
In cotton and soybean, seed manufacturing occurs throughout kharif. While corporations procure uncooked grain from growers throughout October-January, the processing is just from February, peaking in March.
For soybean, that features certification for bodily/genetic purity and minimal germination by authorities testing laboratories. These certification tags are additionally caught on the packets which are despatched to distributors by early May.
“The lockdown got here in the peak processing interval. Although all actions pertaining to seed manufacturing have been deemed important companies, issuance of passes for labor and permission for vegetation to function by district administrations has been gradual.
Transportation, too, has been affected by truck drivers unwilling to go on lengthy drives with the roadside dhabas and restore retailers shut. On high of that, certification laboratories have been non-functional,” an Indore-based soybean processor mentioned.
Of the 12 lakh tonnes or so of soybean seeds planted by farmers, 25-30 % is “certified”. This time, it could possibly be 100 % farm-saved. Maharashtra’s agriculture division has already suggested farmers to reuse final yr’s grain quite than purchase seeds.