Kalahandi, once the cause of global embarrassment for India due to poverty and starvation deaths, today stands tall with its rice production. In the last one decade, Kalahandi has emerged as one of the important paddy producing districts of Odisha. New technologies, farming equipment and awareness among farmers apart, seed replacement rate (SRR) is being attributed as a major factor behind rise in paddy production in the district.
SRR is a measure of how much of the total area of crop has been sown with certified, quality seeds rather than farm-saved seeds.
The SRR for paddy crop in the district was mere 14.56 per cent (pc) in 2006, 19.02 pc in 2007 and 27.49 pc in 2008. From the year 2009, there have been a gradual increase in SRR and last year, it was 52.17 pc.
In the ensuing kharif season, the district has set an ambitious target to reach the seed replacement rate of 65 pc. And to meet the target, an order for 61,133 quintals of high quality paddy seeds has been placed with Odisha Seed Development Corporation and Odisha Agro Industry Corporation.
Accordingly, certified and hybrid seeds of desired varieties have been stocked by the Odisha Seed Supply Corporation (OSSC) Limited which will be supplied through primary agriculture cooperative societies (PACs) in the district. Paddy seed stock has been created in the seed godown of Agriculture Department located on Arkabahaeli farm premises in Bhawanipatna.
“At present, certified seeds are being sent to PACs and authorised dealers of OSSC”, said the Additional Agriculture Director (Input), Balgopal Mishra. So far, 20,547 quintals of certified paddy seeds have been supplied to the district of which, 7,623 quintals lifted by PACs and OSSC dealers.
Similar plans have been drawn for other crops. The Agriculture Department has targeted to supply 16.5 quintals of high quality Maize seeds, 60.1 quintals of Arhar, 59 quintals of Mung, 111.55 quintals of Urad dal seeds, 770 quintals of Groundnut, 11.5 quintals of Sesame, 8.25 quintals of Ragi and 4.7 quintals of Niger seeds to farmers for cash cropping.
“Our objective is to improve the seed replacement rate of paddy and other crops through scientific crop management under the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) for higher productivity,” said a senior officer of the Directorate of Agriculture and Food Production.
The Agriculture Department has also set an ambitious target for the district under the Seed Village Programme in the kharif season. It aims to grow paddy seeds in 1,305 hectares (ha) of land and cover 90 ha under non-paddy crop seeds, mostly Arhar and Mung dal under Seed Village Programme. It will be implemented by OSSC through interested farmers.
The Seed Village Scheme is a viable model of participative production of quality seeds with the involvement of farmers. This makes it possible for seed production at reasonable cost and ensures timely availability of quality seeds to farmers. “This Programme ensures supply of quality certified seed of high yielding varieties to the farmers in time at affordable prices besides ensuring quick multiplication of new seed varieties in a shorter time in the district based on the crop situation”, said Mishra.
The Agriculture Department has also targeted to supply 16.5 quintals of high quality Maize seeds, 60.1 quintals of Arhar, 59 quintals of Mung, 111.55 quintals of Urad dal seeds, 770 quintals of Groundnut, 11.5 quintals of Sesame, 8.25 quintals of Ragi and 4.7 quintals of Niger seeds to farmers for cash cropping