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Farmers producing quality seed for groundnut crop
National Agriculture Bank for Rural Development(NABARD), Department of Agriculture, Human Natural Resources Development Society(HANDS), an NGO and the Mana Vittanam Kendras set up by farmers are engaged in producing ‘foundation seed’ for the groundnut farmers in the district under the ‘Community Managed Seed System(CMSS)’ scheme.
Anantapur: National Agriculture Bank for Rural Development(NABARD), Department of Agriculture, Human Natural Resources Development Society(HANDS), an NGO and the Mana Vittanam Kendras set up by farmers are engaged in producing ‘foundation seed’ for the groundnut farmers in the district under the ‘Community Managed Seed System(CMSS)’ scheme.
NABARD and the Department of Agriculture are playing a key role in this regard. The foundation seed developed out of breeder seed is now being raised in 250 panchayats out of the total 1,009 panchayats in 40 mandals in the district.
Stakeholders in the development of the foundation seed thought it fit to develop the seed which is a breeder seed and good in quality as every year there was agitation from the farmers that the seed supplied by the government was inferior in quality and also not being supplied in time as the seed was being procured from outside by the AP Seeds Limited.
The idea is to encourage farmers to produce their own seed during Rabi to supply the same for the groundnut crop in Kharif. Dubbed as ‘Mana Vittanam’ (our own seed), the farmers are being encouraged by farmers to raise their own groundnut seed in a phased manner to meet their requirement of 4.5 lakh quintal of seed for the groundnut crop spread in the district in 20 lakh acres.
Every year, it was an enormous task for the government to procure seed of that magnitude and still face criticism from the farmers that the seed supplied was of inferior quality and with inordinate delay. The scheme of producing own seed was evolved in 2011 and over a period of time picked up to 60,000 quintals. The seed is in great demand and farmers within the district are clamoring for the quality foundation seed.
Agriculture scientists actually developed what is called the foundation seed and supplied the same to a few farmers to demonstrate and educate the farmers that groundnut is different from groundnut seed and that the farmers have to use foundation seed developed from breeder seed.
Project Director of HANDS, an NGO, Narayana Swamy told 'The Hans India' that he is working in 10 out of 40 mandals identified in the first phase and two varieties had been developed called K9 and K6 varieties. The K9 variety is just one unique variety and the K6 called as table variety. The former is free from diseases and pests while the later is an amalgamation of multiple varieties which are prone to diseases.
In 2015-16, 50,000 quintals of seed had been produced and the same currently shot up to the targeted 4.5 lakh quintals which are required for the groundnut cultivation in the 20 lakh acres. Swamy says that this would put an end to criticism on quality and also with regard to timely supply to the farmers. The government supplied seed was actually an amalgamation of multiple breeds procured from diverse agencies and therefore did not stand the quality test.
NABARD sources told 'The Hans India' said that 20 NGOs are partnering with the government to achieve the enormous feat. WASSAN is providing technical support to the Mana Vittam kendras while Andhra Pradesh State Seed Certification Agency(APSSA) is offering quality certification to the Mana Vittanam Kendras.
By Ravi P Benjamin