Rainfed areas require
- Hardy seeds that can weather the characteristic poor soils and undulating terrain
- Indigenous seed varieties and diversity that are well adapted to the agro-climatic conditions
THE TERRAIN IN RAINFED AREAS ALSO REQUIRES HARDY SEEDS
Can WEATHER these constraints
DIVERSIFICATION is key to survival and there is a range of seeds, including INDIGENOUS VARIETIES that perform well in such conditions
SEED INDUSTRY has little space for such seeds
Erratic rainfall and fear of crop loss results in repeat and contingency sowing in rainfed areas. In an abnormal year, the loss of a crop leads to a shortage of seeds in the subsequent year. As a consequence, rainfed areas have traditionally been repositories of seed diversity that needs to be conserved.
But the present public sector seed system is designed to popularize through subsidies the certified improved seeds of few main crops/varieties, produced by the research system. These seeds are far removed from the realistic needs of rainfed agriculture.
Developing a seed system that makes available quality seeds of locally relevant diverse varieties at affordable prices and provides for maintaining buffers for climate contingencies is very crucial.
RRA Comprehensive Pilots are at several stages of evolving such seed systems in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture. It started with an assessment of seed issues across the CP locations by CIKS, which was anchoring the nodal support.
Mana Vitthana Kendralu (MVKs) managed by the farmers’ organisations were established in Anantapuram district of Andhra Pradesh to cater to the seed requirement of farmers within a cluster (made up of GPs). They work closely with the Department of Agriculture and ANGRAU.