Seed forms the foundation of agriculture and thus have paramount importance. In Indian context the production and supply of quality seeds makes it more prominent as 70% population gets its livelihood from agriculture. Seed production and its supply in agriculture and allied sectors such as horticulture, fishery etc. have been in vogue in our country since time immemorable. However, in recent decades the Indian seed industry has been subject to various external pressures due to economic liberalization policies especially after promulgation of WTO regime.The hybrid seed production which was dominated by Indian public and private seed companies, was let loose. It has further prone to multinational monopolization due to hefty investments for biotechnical interventions. In Indian context, farmers, who primarily used to produce seeds, and less often used to procure seeds from market, have eventually become market dependent.
Indian agriculture is a gamble of monsoon. Therefore, sowing in monsoon for double or triple incidences is a routine phenomenon. Nevertheless, earlier due to seed sovereignty, farmers used to manage it easily. On the contrary, in the market driven scenario, farmers have to buy seeds for each wash out phase of monsoon for sowing twice or thrice, which eventually increases the cost of production. It may be accepted that quality seed production and supply may be totally vested to farmers and so the role of private partners needs to be drafted clearly. Albeit, it should be ensured that in the process of quality seed production and supply by private firms, the farmers’ and national interest is not compromised.
Theme of National Consultative Conclave on Seeds
Present conclave has been designed to discuss the ramifications of seed availability, supply and rural entrepreneurship development. It envisages a discourse on present seed legislations that mandates the quality seed production and supply to farmers through public and private entities along with a huge unorganized sector. Indian farmers are often being deprived of their legal compensation on account of failure of tall claims of private companies under the pretext of international obligations. Therefore, ways to curb the threats and vested interests of multinational playersshould be identified and elaborated so that the sovereign rights of hapless farmers are protected. Since rich biodiversity in our country will be subject to environmental stresses by the processes of hybridization, biotechnological interventions and monoculture of economically potential varieties, measures for its conservation becomes imperative.
Attempts to be made to provide fair turf to stakeholders of seed industry for uninterrupted and quality supply of seeds. Conclave should also discuss to promote indigenous entrepreneurships development among farming fraternity and ways to sustain the endeavors along with existing market trends. In all, aspirations of the said conclave would be to design a comprehensive ‘Seed Policy’ and provide wide insight towards seed sovereignty.