The age-old practice of producing own seeds on the farm for the next season has come back again after several decades, thanks to COVID-19. The State government’s intervention has slightly modified the practice to some extent, but it is for the farmers’ good.
The government proposes to sell groundnut seeds through Rythu Bharosa Kendras at village level from May 15. While it was sold at ₹47 a kg on subsidy last year, this year’s price is yet to be decided.
All these years procurement and processing of groundnut seeds has been through private agencies securing contracts in the tendering process, but the Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy government has changed it for saving time and money. Against a projected requirement of 6 lakh tonnes of groundnut seeds in Anantapur district alone, the Agriculture Department proposes to provide 3.3 lakh quintals at a subsidised rate.
Going by the last year’s experience when the State government had to face the ire of the farming community due to lack of sufficient stock of seeds, the procurement of K-6 variety of groundnut this year began early in February when the rabi crop harvesting begins and will continue till the first week of May. By Saturday, the department procured 93,063 quintals.
Due to elections in 2019, the procurement stopped midway. After the results were announced on May 23, the process began afresh and by that time the demand rose phenomenally, forcing the government to procure seeds even from neighbouring Karnataka at a higher price.
The Andhra Pradesh Seeds Corporation proposes to procure 20,000 quintals, an NGO, Wassan, working with 96 Farmer Producer Organisations is expected to procure 80,000 quintals and under A.P. Drought Mitigation Programme 30,000 quintals will be procured, said agriculture Joint Director Habib Basha.