India holds tremendous scope to boost seed exports through standardised and quality domestic production and efforts are needed towards this area, according to a report.
The Assocham-PwC joint report suggested setting up dedicated seed production hubs that can be oriented towards exports by establishing an export promotion wing.
It highlighted that government incentives for investments in these hubs can also help attract private players.
The report also impressed upon the need to increase focus on new seed variety development in wake of changes in the environment and resource availability.
It also suggested relaxing the seed import regulations in India that are stringent and involve multiple steps and complex documentation.
The Indian seed delivery system, comprised of formal and informal systems, is currently reeling under deficiency and there is significant scope to strengthen the same as even with investments in the formal sector, about 60-65 per cent of seeds in use in the country is unlabelled, according to the report.
The report, titled 'sowing the policy seeds of a flourishing agriculture sector', also suggested that high-quality seed varieties used by tribal and hilly communities be brought into the informal seed chain with some amount of genetic purity.
"These farmer varieties are important for future breeding programmes, as they possess useful traits developed through natural evolution," it said.
The report added, "Their integration would enable effective seed delivery to farmers at affordable costs."
It also said that strengthening the Seed Village Programme will improve seed delivery.
"India has a share of four per cent in the global seed market. The Indian seed market reached a value of USD 3.6 billion in 2017, exhibiting a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of about 17 per cent during 2010-2017. The Indian seed market is dominated by maize, cotton, paddy, wheat, sorghum, sunflower and millets," said the study.
It suggested putting in place a mechanism to improve seed traceability in order to control the distribution of spurious seeds.
"Using a barcode or quick response (QR) code could be one method. Using these unique codes could help in strengthening seed traceability and enable farmers to track the origin of the seed before purchasing," the report noted.
Highlighting the gaps in regulation, the study noted that many seed companies face the threat of loss of sale because of availability of duplicate seeds.
"Many of the proprietary hybrids created by seed companies are copied and sold by in the market because of insufficient IP protection," it said.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)