India has great potentiality to produce hybrid seeds specially costly vegetable seeds on cheap rates as compared to the seeds of the other countries, Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said today.
Opening the Indian Seed Congress – 2017, in Kolkata, he said that Indian Seed Market is growing fast and during the recent past, hybrid seed market of vegetables and cereals has shown remarkable growth. He was of the view that the Seed Industry can emerge as a prominent industry for supplying seeds in international markets. Apart from vegetables, the hybrid seeds of maize, paddy, pearl millet and cotton may be exported to SEI and African countries in magnitude, he added.
The Minister said that the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare is continuously attempting to streamline the regulatory framework in order to make it transparent, substantial and progressive. The Minister assured the representatives present that Central Government is making all out efforts to help them to grow even more, both domestically and in the international arena.
He said that the NDA government is committed to accelerate agricultural output, develop infrastructural facilities in the villages, promote value addition, expedite the growth of agro-business, create employment in the rural areas, ensuring better livelihood status of the farmers and agriculture workers and their families, discourage migration to urban areas and face the challenges emerging out of economic liberalization and globalization.
Singh said that on account of the strategic measures of his government, there has been enhancement in the availability of certified/quality seeds. The availability of certified / quality seeds in the country has increased from less than 40 lakh quintal during decade of 60 to 370 lakh quintal in 2015-16. Singh further said that the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation & Farmers Welfare has asked the State Governments to prepare variety wise seed rolling plants to meet year wise, season wise requirements of quality seeds. This seed rolling plant will fulfil the double purpose of improving the Seed replacement rate along with Variety replacement rate so that sustainable agricultural production and productivity could be ensured.
He also said that sowing operations during the demonetisation period increased by seven per cent as compared to the year-ago period.
"During November 8 to December 30, 2016, sowing operations increased by about 7 per cent. This data was sent by the states," Singh said while responding to a query that state governments, including West Bengal, claimed that the note-ban hit the farmers and sowing during Rabi season was affected.
"Purchasing of seeds with scrapped notes was allowed during the demonetisation period," he said on the sidelines of the Congress.
Singh said that the central government has set a target to cover 14 crore farmers under the Soil Health Card Scheme which would enables farmers to get information about nutrient level of the soil and could help to make make judicious use of fertilisers.
On the occasion West Bengal Government appealed to the seed producing companies to explore the western zone of West Bengal to set up their plants, claiming that districts like Bankura, West Midnapore and Purulia are suitable for seed production.