Officials warn traders against selling spurious seeds

Warangal: Notwithstanding the advancement in technology that helps farmers get higher yields, and financial support from the government, the agriculture sector is still has to confront with the same challenges such as lack of minimum support price, middlemen's sway over market and spurious seed menace — that need to be dealt with an iron hand.

Even before the countdown to southwest monsoon has begun, the news of authorities seizing spurious seed started to trickle in creating flutter among the cultivators. It may be mentioned here that authorities seized a huge cache of substandard seed worth around Rs 70 lakh in Huzurabad, a bordering town of Warangal Urban district on May 16.

Against this backdrop, apparently instructed by its higher ups in Hyderabad, the Warangal Police Commissionerate is all geared up to crack whip on those trading spurious seeds before the Kharif activity picks up.

Speaking to The Hans India, Commissioner of Police V Ravinder said: "Without any iota of doubt, the police will invoke the Preventive Detention (PD) Act on those who involve in the spurious seed trade. Any instance of farmers suffering from substandard seeds will be dealt with iron hand. The onus is also on us to keep a tab on substandard seed with which the farmers have been incurring huge losses over the years."

Stating that the police will keep a vigilant eye on retailers, dealers and actual suppliers, the Commissioner said that they will not only conduct raids but also organise awareness programmes in rural pockets to ensure farmers informed about the impending menace and the precautions to be taken.

He told the farmers to fetch purchase receipts of seed and pesticides from the sellers.

Warangal (Urban and Rural) district agriculture officer Usha Dayal said: "We have already conducted a meeting with the seed companies and discussed the quality of seed. We have several farmers complaining of low yield in some places. As of now, we are busy with the election duty. We along with Task Force police to launch raids after the counting of Lok Sabha elections concludes." As of now, the agriculture wing is procuring seed to make them available for the farmers at distribution centres.

"Last year, maize, cotton, paddy and chilli farmers suffered huge losses due to spurious seed. The paddy farmers belonging to Chennaraopet, Sangem and Nallabelly mandals who suffered losses due to substandard seed are yet to get compensation from a reputed company. The onus is on the government to conduct soil tests and advise the farmers which variety they should opt for sowing," Peddarapu Ramesh, Rythu Sabgham Warangal Rural district general secretary, said.

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