October 2015

Seed for change

The Yeotmal Farmers’ Producer Company’s decision to initiate seed production and marketing through farmers' groups has had a fruitful effect

Seeds are an essential input for crop production. Farmers’ access to affordable, quality seeds of superior varieties is key towards enhancing agricultural productivity. In Vidharbha, most of the certified seeds are marketed through the Government and the private sector. Every year, farmers face the problem of procuring quality seeds. Consequently, the Yeotmal Farmers’ Producer Company (FPO), Ner, decided to initiate seed production and marketing through farmers' groups. The objective was to decentralise seed production and its distribution, which could lead to timely availability of quality seeds to farmers and thereby, boost the crop yield. This is a good income generation opportunity for the FPOs and hence there is the need to build their skills for undertaking this activity.

As this is a new concept, farmers are not confident about their skills and managerial capabilities to produce quality seeds. Under the Sukhi Baliraja Initiative (SBI), the Trusts’ agriculture experts and Block Agriculture Officers are helping and guiding the farmers on technical aspects, besides assisting the FPOs on documentation and registration processes.

Under the Seed Production Regulatory Authority of the Maharashtra Government, the famers have been given a commonly used variety (Maruti of Red Gram and JS-335 of Soyabean) for seed multiplication. FPO has identified interested smallholder farmers and are providing technical support and foundation seed on cash. A total of 230 farmers purchased the foundation seed, with the expectation of securing a premium price and an additional of Rs. 100 as bonus per quintal, which they would be able to get from FPO/seed distributors. Registration of farmers’ plots, submission of documents and plot inspection by government authorities has been facilitated by the Farmer Producer Company. The Trusts’ programme team visits the farmers on a monthly basis to resolve any issues and challenges faced for tur and Soyabean seed production.

During Kharif 2015, 230 farmers cultivating 685 acres of land across 26 villages joined the programme. The expected production this year is 3,700 quintals of quality-certified Red gram and Soyabean seeds, which can be sowed to cover 22,923 acres, next year.

Quality Maruti Tur and Soyabean Seed Production Programme
Crop Variety Total no. of bags Total Land (in acres) Beneficiaries Total clusters Total no. of villages covered Production of seed in Quintals. Land (in acres) will be covered through the seed produced
Tur Maruti 550 365 91 1 8 1,460 17,033
Soyabean JS-335 320 320 139 2 21 2,240 5,900
    870 685 230 3 29 3,700 22,933