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Sowing the seed for healthy soil and prosperous farmers

National Seeds Corporation (NSC), established in 1963, has been contributing significantly in making available larger quantity of certified seeds of wheat, paddy, pulses, oilseeds, etc, which are the major food crops. Its chairman and managing director SK Roongta spoke to HT on a range of issues.

delhi Updated: Jul 29, 2012 22:50 IST

National Seeds Corporation (NSC), established in 1963, has been contributing significantly in making available larger quantity of certified seeds of wheat, paddy, pulses, oilseeds, etc, which are the major food crops. Its chairman and managing director SK Roongta spoke to HT on a range of issues. Excerpts:

How the seed scenario in India changed over 10 years and what is the present status?
The production of certified and quality seeds in the country has increased over three and a half times during the past 10 years from 103.96 lakh quintals in 2002-03 to 353.62 lakh quintals during 2011-12.

In some of crops such as wheat, paddy, soyabean, bajra, sorghum and mustard, the seed replacement rate (SRR) has improved considerably, which has helped in increasing the production and productivity of these crops significantly.

What are the focus areas for NSC now in providing quality seeds to the farmers?
NSC is now concentrating on increased production of seeds in oilseeds, pulses, fodder, green manure and vegetables as per the changing preferences of farmers and demand for such seeds.

Due to ever increasing demand for milk as well as its rising prices, farmers demand more green fodder for their cattle, as a result of which, the demand for fodder seeds is rising. NSC is accordingly increasing the production of such seeds.

In production and distribution of hybrid seeds, what is the position of NSC?
Farmers are now demanding hybrid seeds for crops such as maize, paddy, sunflower, bajra, cotton and vegetables.

Although the share of NSC in overall hybrid seed market is low, but we are now concentrating on few crops such as maize hybrids, fodder hybrids of sorghum and bajra, hybrid paddy and hybrid vegetables such as chillies, tomato, brinjal and okra among others.

With this, the range of products with NSC will increase significantly covering all important crops.

How do you ensure NSC seeds reach farmers in rural areas?
NSC is aware that it has to improve the last mile connectivity in supplying seeds to rural farmers and keeping this in mind, NSC is now working in tandem with other organisations such as fertiliser and pesticide firms, oil marketing companies and cooperatives that have a much wider network in rural areas.

This is being done to reduce the dependence of NSC on traditional channels of dealers and distributors who are mainly concentrated in urban and semi-urban areas. NSC hopes to sell 10% of its seeds through these non-traditional channels during the current year.