Andhra Pradesh

Delta farmers sow seeds of revolution

Tenali MLA A. Siva Kumar dons farmer’s role at Athota in Tenali mandal.

Tenali MLA A. Siva Kumar dons farmer’s role at Athota in Tenali mandal.  

The first seeds of transformation of an agrarian-based economy has begun at a non-descript village of Atthota in Tenali mandal when local farmers began developing a seed bank of their own. Being developed at Athota, it is one of the seven seed banks sanctioned by the Government of Andhra Pradesh. It is also supported by the Department of Agriculture, Ryot Pradhikara Samstha, Bharat Beej Swadhar Manch and other organisations.

Seed production is not new to the country as farmers have been producing their own seeds since the 1950s in response to the “grow more food campaign”. In 1968, the Mexican Dwarf wheat variety was imported, but it was the Punjab farmers that multiplied it and supplied to other farmers heralding the Green Revolution. Now, it’s the turn of farmers from the Delta region to improvise and develop their own seed bank.

Self-reliant

Farmers are known to produce hybrid seeds in millets, maize, pearl millet, rice and cotton and have adapted seeds from different countries.

Meanwhile, seed companies have started mushrooming and made big money by procuring seeds from the farmers, repacking them and selling them back at exorbitant prices.

“Farmers here have formed into a society and we have been producing 200 kinds of seeds in five acres. We are producing rice, cereal and vegetable seeds. The production technique is crop-dependant and varies from crop to crop. In case of cereals, selection from a standing crop is carried out on each plant and its produce like a panicle or a pod. In case of vegetables, we select plants and allow the pods to ripen, then separate seeds from the pods and dry them. For root crops like Onion, the bulbs are allowed to flower and fertilise for seeds on other plants,” said Eedara Bapaiah, a farmer who is maintaining the seed bank.

The seed banks are now integrated into natural farming which is being given a big push by the AP government.

“What began as a small movement in AP in 2005, is now growing into a revolution.

The seed bank here will be developed into one of the biggest in the country. Seed production is being carried out in natural farming methods and we have given seeds produced here to farmers in 1,500 acres,” said Adviser, Government of AP, T. Vijaya Kumar.

Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Aug 12, 2020 4:34:12 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/delta-farmers-sow-seeds-of-revolution/article28493666.ece

Next Story