The ministry of agriculture has advised all state government agencies to streamline the seed certification process to facilitate farmers in choosing high yielding seeds at a reasonable cost.
The agencies have been advised to ask private companies to select four to five of their high yielding varieties while seeking certification, and bring both older and new verities.
According to officials, private seed certification agencies usually come up with 20-25 varieties, annually, for certification. This confuses farmers who are duped by dealers into buying the most expensive variety.
The certification process will soon begin before the onset of the kharif season. Some states like Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat have already started the discussions, said senior officials.
"There is no data to show that most expensive ones are the high-yielding varieties just because one or two more features are added into the new germplasm (variety of seed). On the other hand, additional features fetch higher price, which pushes up the cost for the farmers,” said officials.
Adding: “Usually, the older or relatively cheaper varieties are not available in the market when the new and costlier varieties arrive. This forces the farmer to spend more money on the new ones while the older ones had shown good output. This confuses the farmers as they do not know what additional attributes they are paying for."
The ministry will soon come up with a National Seed Mission. At present, both certified and non-certified seeds are available in the market, while the new rules make it mandatory for all seeds to be certified by the government before selling in the market.
Besides improving the production and availability of quality certified seeds in the domestic market, the new policy aims to make a bigger impact in the international market for exports. To this effect, the department intends to achieve a 10 per cent market share in the total global export of seeds by 2020.
For this, the mission has asked for an outlay of Rs 10 crore to support international co-operation, in seeds by implementing international treaties and schemes of seed export promotion.
Another significant objective is incentive-based assistance to support private sector seed producing organisations in collaboration with the public sector.