A group of Indian farmers who made their entrepreneurial debut last year increased their income by as much as US$ 982 (₹ 75,000) per hectare with good quality seed of high-yielding groundnut varieties and improved technology. Handholding by ICRISAT in pre-production to after-sales under its Seed Business Venture initiative helped the farmers realize high yields and incomes in just one crop season.
“The yield has been much better with the GJG 32 variety as it is resistant to leaf spot disease. Crop stayed green till harvest and could be used as fodder to fetch additional income,” said Chandrashekar Reddy, a farmer from Nagarkurnool in Telangana state, who was a part of the rainy season (kharif) cohort last year.
Mr Reddy’s farm has been inspiring his neighbors who have lost harvests to leaf spot and collar rot. The 4,250 kg per hectare yield that GJG 32 can provide is nearly twice what farmers were getting from the older varieties commonly used in the area.
The Seed Business Venture (SBV) initiative, under an OPEC Fund for International Development supported project, is aimed at addressing the gaps in demand and supply of quality seed by strengthening the groundnut seed system through rural seed business entrepreneurs.
High seed rates, low seed multiplication ratio and quick loss of seed viability are some of the major challenges to the groundnut seed systems affecting the adoption of newer varieties. Given these challenges, formal seed systems alone may not cater to the needs of farmers for groundnut seeds. One of the approaches to overcome these constraints is to develop and promote decentralized seed models managed by farmer-entrepreneurs in the rural community.
In collaboration with Professor Jayashankar Telangana State Agricultural University (PJTSAU) and Groundnut breeding team of ICRISAT’s Asia Research Program, ICRISAT’s Agribusiness and Innovation Platform (AIP) started SBV’s pilot initiative in kharif 2019 with 10 farmers of Nagarkurnool and Jogulamba Gadwal in Telangana and promoted them as seed entrepreneurs through training.
The SBV training covers best crop production practices, provides nucleus seed of groundnut variety GJG 32 (ICGV 03043), a high-oil, high yielding and farmer preferred variety, on-field assistance at critical stages of crop growth, harvesting assistance, procurement and buying back the produce by paying more than market price (` 50 per kg vs. ` 45 per kg for last kharif crop), facilitating seed processing and selling the processed high quality seed at reasonable cost to farmers.
“I am happy that we are trained in best practices of crop production and will be guided on the field throughout the crop cycle,” said farmer Ms Prameela.
About eight tons of seed from the kharif harvest has been used for cultivation of 40 hectares during post-rainy season (rabi) crop, which is set to be harvested soon. SBV’s post-rainy season workshop and training was held at Regional Agricultural Research Station, Palem, Telangana, in November. Several farmers participated in the workshop of which 10 were selected in the second cohort.