Union Agriculture Minister inaugurates Asian Seed Congress 2008
Plan to reduce demand-supply gap in 3-5 years
Call for concerted regional strategy for seed policies
HYDERABAD: Union Minister for Agriculture Sharad Pawar has said the government is planning to bring down the demand-supply gap of 45 lakh tonnes of seed in the next three to five years in accordance with the National Seed Plan.
Mr. Pawar inaugurated the Asian Seed Congress 2008, organised by Asia Pacific Seed Association (APSA) and National Seed Association of India (NSAI), here on Tuesday.
Addressing over 600 foreign and 250 Indian delegates, including seed manufacturers and scientists representing over 40 countries, he said that the Centre and the State governments were making necessary efforts to eliminate the gap. The National Seed Plan was aimed at ensuring seed replacement rate of 25 per cent for self-pollinated crops, 35 per cent for cross-pollinated crops and 100 per cent for hybrids for achieving higher productivity. Exhorting the convention for evolving a concerted regional strategy for sound seed policies, Mr. Pawar said that developing countries were facing challenges due to global warming and high foodgrain prices.
The Indian agriculture sector made enormous progress by enhancing foodgrain production from 50 million tonnes in 1947 to about 231 million tonnes in 2007-08.
Policy reorientation by the government like launching of ‘Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana’ and National Food Security Mission ensured that the agricultural growth rate had accelerated to an average of about 4.7 per cent a year between 2005 and 2008. As a result, distribution of quality seed grew by 68 per cent during 2007-08, compared to the previous year, he disclosed.
The Union government liberalised the seed import and export regulations to make India a major seed production and export centre. He underscored the need for application of latest technologies, including biotechnology, for seed production and quality yield.
Chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy said quality seed should be made available to farmers at an affordable cost. Former V-C of Acharya N.G. Ranga Agricultural varsity M.V. Rao also spoke. Mr. Pawar presented APSA awards to R.D. Bawale, Uday Singh and Mandava Prabhakara Rao (president of NSAI).