The growing variety of soybean and onion farmers who decide to develop seed plots so that they do not have to purchase seed from private firms has created an apprehension among seed-producing companies.
Maharashtra’s agriculture department is supporting farmers to develop their own soya seeds and never rely on seed companies because of the farmers’ complaints about the early germination of soya bean seed problem in this year’s Kharif season. In response to industry players, the share of private seed corporations in soya seed sales and distribution in Maharashtra is approximately 60 per cent.
As per the studies, 3 million quintals of soybeans are required across the Kharif season, and the agricultural division wants farmers to produce the max amount of seed for the following season. According to officials, farmers are already producing 10-12 lakh quintal seeds, while the industry has the remaining demand.
Now, the next major crop Onion farmers are joining the soya farmers. Recent time, onion farmers have procured onion seed at 3200-3,500 per kg. This time last year, the rate was around 1,700 per kg. The National Horticultural Research and Development Foundation (NHRDF) offered 2,200 per kg of seed.
Farmers in the states purchase seeds from private companies or NHRDF provided that other farmers do not have seeds to sell. Farmers assert that seed companies are blocking seed supplies to the market in order to create shortages.
Farmers from the Nashik area are now encouraging each other to develop their own seed plots and to reduce their dependence on seed corporate entities.
However, the seed companies reacted with a warning that, although this transfer may have an effect on the seed biz, they are not opposed to seed-producing farmers.
Mr. SB Wankhede, Executive Director of the Maharashtra Seed Industries Association, mentioned that seed companies will continue to fulfil their tasks of providing high-quality seeds to farmers. ‘ There is enough market space for companies to do business,’ he said.
However, seed market players are concerned that if more farmers start producing seed for themselves, this may have an impact on the business. Anonymity has been claimed by an industry player that farmer organisations and political parties are setting up a case against seed corporations after the soya seed germination dispute.