In view of a shortage in quality soyabean seeds, the Agriculture Ministry has decided to relax the germination standard for soyabean seeds from 70 per cent to 65 per cent in the forthcoming kharif season.

However, seed firms have to pack an additional 3 kg seeds (10 per cent extra) free of cost in seed packets to be sold to farmers. Besides, seed bags should be clearly marked ‘Relaxed Germination Standards’ in red ink, the Ministry said in a letter to State seed corporations, certifying agencies as well as seed industry associations such as National Seed Association of India and Federation of Seed Industries of India last week.


This relaxation will be allowed only to the lots packed till July 31 this year, the Ministry said.

The directive came in the wake of its assessment that there is a shortage of 3.2 lakh quintals of soyabean seeds in the country for the next kharif season. According to a presentation made by Agriculture Commissioner SK Malhotra at the national kharif conference last year, while the requirement of soyabean seeds is estimated to be 27.23 lakh quintals, the availability was only 24.03 lakh quintals.

“The relaxation is given very rarely, but not for the first time. This has been done in the past too,” said Subash Chandra Parikh, Director, Seed Association of Madhya Pradesh. “This will not affect the crop in the coming season. The extra seeds packed in the bags will more than compensate for any loss in germination that farmers could face,” Parikh told BusinessLine.

Acreage, production

Farmers in Madhya Pradesh sowed soyabean on 5.5 million hectares (mha), accounting for nearly 50 per cent of the oilseed crop area in the country in the last kharif season, followed by Maharashtra (4 mha) and Rajasthan (1.1 mha).

Heavy monsoon rains last year hit the soyabean crop in Madhya Pradesh and also partly in Maharashtra. According to Parikh, soyabean production in the State last year was estimated to be 10 to 20 per cent lower than normal.

Normally, seed firms sell nearly 8 lakh quintals of soyabean seeds in Madhya Pradesh, but most farmers use seeds either prepared by themselves or bought locally from other farmers. Moreover, because of the Covid-19 situation in the country, most farmers are not able to sell their produce at good prices and in such situations, they rely more on locally available seeds, he said.


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