As it gathers in New Delhi for a three-day meet tomorrow in Gurgaon, the Rs 12,000-crore Indian seed industry wants the Government to facilitate exports to tap the Rs 2.5 lakh crore ($50 billion) global seed business. It also wants the Government to give Income-Tax exemption and create conducive environment to encourage investments into the seed sector.

“We can be a major supplier of commercial seeds to global markets having good ecosystem of seed production. At present, our share in the global seed business is less than one per cent. We need Government support in removing bottlenecks for exports and provide infrastructure,” Raju Kapoor, Executive Director of National Seed Association of India (NSAI), told Business Line over phone, on the eve of the inaugural of the fourth edition of Indian Seed Congress. The three-day meet will be inaugurated by the Union Minister of Agriculture, Sharad Pawar.

Raju Kapoor said the US tops the list of seed business with a share of $12 billion, followed by China with $9 billion, France with $3.5 billion and Brazil with $2.5 billion. The Indian industry is expected to cross the $3-billion mark by 2015.

Asking for measures to facilitate investments into the industry, he said the seed producers used to have IT exemptions till 2004. “But it was withdrawn later. The total outgo from this count is less than Rs 200 crore. But it means a lot for the producers,” he said.

Opportunities

He said there was a need to strengthen public-private partnership in order to improve agriculture productivity. The seed component was very small in the overall cost of cultivation but its contribution in the final outcome was very significant.

The theme for this year’s Seed Congress is ‘Seeds of change – enabling evergreen revolution’. “It will discuss the Centre-State stewardship of seed sector, regulations versus controls, contribution of the seed sector,” N.K. Dadlani, Director, NSAI, said.

kurmanath.kanchi@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on February 7, 2013)
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