Delta farmers turn to seed testing

The practice of testing seeds to check their quality is fast catching up among delta farmers and seed dealers going by the data available with the Seed Testing Laboratory (STL), Thanjavur.

Normally, farmers rely on the seed certificate issued by the Directorate of Seed Certification, Coimbatore, while deciding on the variety of paddy or other crops they want to cultivate in their fields.

Their trust in the Directorate saved them from losses on several occasions in the past. However, seeds with ‘fake’ certification continued to haunt them until they started utilising the seed testing service offered by STL to farmers and dealers under ‘Service Samples’ category.

According to official sources, STL, Thanjavur, notified by the Government of India under Section 4(2) of the Seed Act, 1966 as an authorised testing centre for seeds, comes under the control of the Directorate of Seed Certification and Organic Certification, Coimbatore.

The main role of the laboratory is to ensure supply of quality seeds for better yield and seeds of paddy, black gram, green gram, cotton, groundnut, gingelly, green manures and vegetables like gourds, tomato, brinjal, chillies and bhendi are tested.

The seeds received for testing are classified under three categories – Certification Samples (CS) from the Seed Certification Wing, Official Sample (OS) from the Seed Inspection Wing and as Service Sample (SS) from any farmers or seed dealers.

The number of samples received at STL, Thanjavur, has recorded an upward trend in the recent past reflecting the concern among farmers and seed dealers on availability of quality seeds from their side also, sources added.

According to data available with STL, the number of samples submitted under the SS category in the year 2017-18 (from April 1 to March 31 in the subsequent year) slipped to 720 from 770 samples tested during 2016-17 but it rose to 750 in the year 2018-19.

Surprisingly, the number of farmers or seed sellers who have approached STL to get the quality of their seeds tested increased by over 150 in 2019-20 from around 750 during 2018-19.

The need to ensure quality of seed for betterment of the farming community seems to have been realised by the stakeholders as more than 750 seeds were received and tested under the SS category till the first week of this month.

The slump in the number of requests for certification under the SS category during the current year may be due to the exposure of agricultural operations in the delta region to unexpected weather conditions during this cultivation season, they pointed out.

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Printable version | Apr 12, 2021 8:29:38 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/delta-farmers-turn-to-seed-testing/article34007262.ece

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