Gadwal: Farmers seek government action on counterfeit seed sale

Gadwal: Farmers seek government action on counterfeit seed sale

  • 70 lakh acres cotton to be cultivated this Kharif season
  • Demand estimated for 1.4 crore cotton seed packets
  • In Gadwal, 20 companies involved in cotton seed cultivation; only 7 reported their activities to the agriculture dept

Gadwal : Farmers in the Nadigadda region are facing severe challenges due to fake seeds, counterfeit pesticides, and exploitation at the hands of . With the onset of the rainy season, counterfeit seed trade, particularly in cotton seeds is on the rise resulting in extortion of hundreds of crores of rupees from farmers. Despite annual raids and cases against those involved, the issue persists due to flaws in the Seed Act and political influence.

As the Kharif season approaches, the agriculture department plans to cultivate 70 lakh acres across the state. Farmers are preparing to grow cotton on a large scale, leading to a demand for 1.4 crore seed packets. Consequently, this high demand attracts scammers to exploit farmers by selling substandard, expired, and banned BT seeds.

Notably, the price of cotton seeds in the open market ranges from Rs 700 to Rs 750 per packet, leading to purchases worth up to Rs 1,000 crores. Attempts are being made to supply the farmers with seeds that have failed GOT tests, inferior, expired seeds, and banned BT seeds in Erstwhile Mahaboobnagar, Nizamabad, Ranga Reddy, Adilabad, and Medak.

Despite recent task force raids seizing large quantities of fake seeds in Hyderabad, the lack of effective surveillance allows fraudsters to thrive. Farmers often trust brokers, who avoid providing receipts or certificates, making it difficult for farmers to lodge complaints even when they suffer losses.

In Gadwal district, while 20 companies are involved in cotton seed cultivation, only seven have reported their activities to the agriculture department. Approximately 40,000 farmers cultivate seed cotton on 40,000 to 45,000 acres annually, producing over 1.5 million seed packets and generating an annual business of Rs 1,000 crores. However, there is no oversight on the quality of seeds, exacerbating the illegal seed trade.

It is imperative that farmers verify the origin, purity, expiry date, and company details of seeds. A receipt should always be obtained upon purchase.

Moreover, farmers demand that the agriculture department focus on providing foundation seeds and returning failed seeds. They urge the government to implement measures to eradicate the seed mafia and protect them from losses. Nadigadda farmers question whether it is possible to eradicate counterfeit seeds and spurious pesticides in Gadwal District, seeking action from the authorities.

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