'Plan strategy to remove farmers' dependency on private seed cos'

New Delhi: Aiming at putting a check on the "exploitation of farmers" by private seed companies, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar has urged state governments and central institutions to formulate a robust strategy to boost indigenous seed production to bring down farmers' dependency on private seed players.

The statement of Tomar may help researchers and scientists to focus on developing indigenous varieties of seeds at affordable prices.

Tomar, while addressing a conference on the government's preparedness for the kharif season, said that the state governments have a bigger role in curbing the sale of fake seeds and pesticides.

The minister also stressed the need to encourage farmers to produce quality agri-crops in order to further boost the country's agri-exports, which have already reached Rs 3,00,000 crore so far. "'There is some shortage of seeds in the country. We all need to discuss how to address this gap. I want to urge state and central institutions to chalk out a strategy to meet the seed requirement," he said.

"At present, there is heavy dependence on private players for seeds. There is a need to increase the production of seeds by public players and then only, they will be able to give direction and have influence over the seed market," Tomar said.

On the sale of fake seeds and pesticides, the minister said that many complaints have been received in this regard, but the state governments have a bigger role to play in curbing the sale of these two products.

Besides ensuring quality seeds and pesticides, Tomar said that there is a need to promote the balanced use of fertilisers and encourage the use of NPK and nano fertilisers.

"The state governments should also plan a strategy for promoting organic and natural farming methods in order to sustain food security in times of supply disruption in the import of chemical fertilisers," the minister said. Speaking on the occasion, Agriculture Secretary Manoj Ahuja said that the Met department has predicted a normal monsoon for the fourth consecutive year, which should augur well for achieving better farm growth this year. On the issue of fertiliser shortage, he said, "There will not be any problem in fertiliser availability in the upcoming kharif season."

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