Agri Business

Seed industry seeks stimulus package to drive research

K.V. Kurmanath Hyderabad | Updated on February 24, 2011

Claims potential to become hub of seeds for South Asia, Africa

The Rs 8,000-crore seed industry in the country has called for a stimulus package from the Union Government to incentivise research and development infrastructure for seed development.

The industry felt that the country has the potential to become a hub of seeds for the entire South and South-East Asia and Africa, provided it gets policy support from the Government.

Focus on modernisation

With estimates pegging the food products requirement at 850 million tonnes by 2020 from the present 440 mt, it is time the country focuses on modernising agriculture. Industry leaders argued that it is modern breeding and biotechnology initiatives that are going to help the country meet the demand.

The industry pointed out that meeting ahead of the Union Budget, the National Seed Association of India (NSAI), which is holding a two-day Seed Congress 2011, wanted the Government to repeat a stimulus package similar to that of 1988 that completely changed the course of seed industry in the country.

“The industry needs tax exemptions for their research initiatives. We expect harmonised laws across States,” according to Dr Paresh Verma of Shriram Bioseed.

Taking part in a discussion at the Seed Congress on the role of Government in seed sector, he pointed out that research and development was not happening in self-pollinated crops because there was no proper mechanism to get back returns.

Stating that the Indian industry could become a hub for the South and South-East Asian region, he said the industry was growing at 12 per cent annually against the global growth rate of less than five per cent. Mr M Prabhakar Rao, former President of NSAI and Chairman and Managing Director of Nuziveedu Seeds Ltd, wanted the Government and private players to set up a nation-wide distribution and retail network to ensure effective distribution and marketing of seeds and other inputs to farmers.

“The industry also expects the Government to establish a Seed Regulatory Commission to streamline and promote healthy competition,” he said.

The industry also felt that the country should strengthen certification and testing agencies. Most of the agencies are not aware of the latest developments in the seed industry.

Published on February 24, 2011

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