COVID-19 lockdown curbs hit seed processing

The farm sector across India, as also elsewhere across the world, is likely to suffer a huge impact of the coronavirus pandemic next agricultural year, with the functioning of the seed industry and its ancillaries being affected badly by the lockdown imposed to check the spread of COVID-19.

Telangana, which is known as the seed hub of the country for housing the processing and storage facilities of over 400 private and multi-national seed companies, serves about 70% of the country’s seed needs as well as that of several South East Asian and African countries. Apart from growing quality seed of several food crops, the State also gets seed produced in other States in the country for processing and storage here for its suitable climatic conditions.

“With the coronavirus affecting China, the USA, Germany, France, the Netherlands, France, Italy, Spain, Brazil, India and other major countries involved in seed production, the import and export of seed is likely to be affected badly in the next planting/sowing season as there is the possibility of huge gap between the demand and supply,” vice president of International Seed Testing Association (ISTA) K. Keshavulu told The Hindu.

The demand-supply gap would be much higher for high value seeds, particularly those of some vegetable and fruit varieties that are produced in the European countries. Since the impact of COVID-19 is much bigger on the developed countries, the international organisations would focus their energies and strategies more on such countries rather than the developing and poor countries, Mr. Keshavulu, who is also Managing Director of Telangana State Seed Development Corporation (TSSDC), explained.

In India, the requirement of seed for the next agricultural season is estimated at about 310 lakh quintals, including nearly 13 lakh quintals in Telangana. Apart from the seed produced in about 2.3 lakh acres in Telangana, the seed produced in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and other States would also reach Telangana for processing, packing and storage.

“TSSDC has engaged 5,400 farmers in 200 villages this rabi season to produce 5 lakh quintals of seed in 32,000 acres,” Mr. Keshavulu said adding that several ancillary industries such as those producing material for processing and packaging of seed also exist in the State. However, the lockdown has impacted both the seed and ancillary industries including the delays in transport of seed produced in other States.

Besides, certification of seed produced in AP, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Puducherry, Lakshadweep and also Telangana is certified here for exports under the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) programme since the Telangana State Seed and Organic Certification Authority (TSSOCA) is the nodal agency, Mr. Keshavulu in his capacity as the Director of the authority said.

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Printable version | Jul 29, 2021 3:01:16 PM |

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