A Smart Seed Production System in Paddy:

A novel approach to promote farmers as Seed Producers and to reduce the Seed Production Cycle in Assam

The crucial inputs for climate-smart crop production is well-adapted varieties suitable to the local conditions and quality seeds. Farmers generally use farm saved seeds for sowing and in general the Seed Replacement Ratio is less than 22 percent in the state. This is one of the reasons for lower productivity in paddy. Easy access to quality seeds of locally adapted paddy varieties to small holders is one of the reasons for non-adoption followed by the lack of knowledge and awareness on such varieties.

Farmers in general cultivate paddy for grain rather than as seed, only few farmers take up seed production. Though economically it gives higher profit, farmers don’t get adequate backward and forward linkages to evolve as seed producers. To promote small holding farmers as ‘Seed Producers’ Assam Agricultural University in collaboration with M S Swaminathan Research Foundation has launched the Smart Seed Production System on 13 June 2019 at VKC, Chawdang Pather, Golaghat.

As per the Indian Seed System, a variety enters into the seed system only after the notification of a variety. Certified seeds are produced subsequently from Breeder seed, and Foundation seed and the whole process of requires a minimum of 3-4 years. Thus normally farmers can get the new varieties of the certified seeds only after 3-4 years of its notification.

In order to shorten the seed production cycle, attempt has been made to establish a Smart Seed Production System in Assam. Under this system, multiple stakeholders are involved in the process of seed production system right from the developmental stage of a variety. The process adopt a Participatory Varietal Selection (PVS) Approach in which desired lines are selected by the different stakeholders. The variety selected by them is subsequently notified and released immediately with the help of Private sectors, Seed agencies and direct monitoring of the breeder concerned. Here it is proposed to multiply the seeds at the time of notification stage which is considered as a nucleus seed. Such seeds are immediately multiplied as certified seeds and available for commercial cultivation. By this method the improved variety is available for cultivation to farmers within a year or two.

An agreement is being promoted between two Private sector seed agencies namely Allied Crop Care Pvt. Ltd. and Asomi Polyseed Pvt. Ltd and farmers for seed production in the project sites of Golaghat and Sivasagar district respectively for Kharif 2019. By this farmers will get an additional profit of Rs 7-8/kg higher than producing as grain. ,