Need to strengthen postrainy sorghum seed systems in India

Mr Srivastava and Mr Parthasarathi at the ICRISAT stall. Photo: ICRISAT

Dr Kumar dwelt on the achievements (see box) of the Innovative Seed Consortium and added that in order to sustain the seed consortium interventions varietal de-notification is the first step. He said a baseline survey reconfirmed that old varieties still have a major share in the seed market and continued seed production of old varieties by state corporations is counterproductive. He suggested de-notifying old and obsolete varieties irrespective of whether they are from public or private sector to allow seed multiplication of released improved cultivars.

The other points that were touched upon included:

  • Increasing Seed Replacement Rate;
  • Targeting technologies as per the biophysical conditions and farmers’/market preferences.
  • For example, in Maharashtra, Phule Vasudha has been identified as best suited for deep soils; P Suchithra for medium soils and P Anuradha for shallow soils;
  • Mechanization of crop/seed production using seed-cum-fertilizer drill, harvester and thresher;
  • Scientific storage of seed using triple-layered
    plastic bags;
  • Introduction of hybrids in seed chain;
  • Policy and funding support including provision of funds and support for seed multiplication and dissemination activities at least for three years; and extending the subsidies in seed production to new varieties of postrainy sorghum.


ICRISAT’s pigeonpea (ICPH 2740, ICPL 88039, Asha, Maruthi) and groundnut varieties (ICGV 000350, ICGV 000351, ICGV 91114) generated a lot of interest among farmer participants, who also enquired about its availability and point of purchase.

  Results from early adoption studies in Maharashtra

Synergies from institutional and technological interventions through partnership enabled:

  • Increased productivity (28-35%)
  • Reduced yield gaps (25-35%)
  • Enhanced income (33-44%)

Each farmer trained under HOPE project reached out to 5-6 new farmers (secondary diffusion)

Line departments like Department of Agriculture/seed corporations play a crucial role in efficient delivery of inputs.

Mr Avinash K Srivastava, Special Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, Government of India and Mr C Parthasarathi, IAS, Chairman of the 8th National Seed Congress and Agriculture Production Commissioner and Secretary, Agriculture and Cooperative Department, Government of Telangana, visited the stall. Mr Srivastava appreciated the work of ICRISAT in pulses and said that there was a need for more research and introduction of high-yielding varieties in pigeonpea.

At the 8th National Seed Congress, ICRISAT was represented by Dr Peter Carberry, Deputy Director General-Research, who chaired two technical sessions; Dr Kumar and the Agri-Business Incubation (ABI) Program of ICRISAT Agribusiness and Innovation Platform who put up a stall showcasing ICRISAT success stories, technologies and improved cultivars of five mandate crops developed in partnership efforts led by ICRISAT.

The Congress, held at Hyderabad during 27-29 October, was jointly organized by the Government of Telangana and Government of India and had more than 500 participants from private sector, public sector, academia, policy makers, farmers and students.

The 8th National Seed Congress appealed to the Telangana State government to formulate policies for the promotion of seed industry, and suggested developing seed cooperative clusters and nodal seed villages. Awareness programs on good quality seed production and measures for encouraging seed were also proposed at the event.

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