Soybean farmers in Maharashtra may not have to rely on seeds purchased this season to take the oil crop. With heavy rains still awaiting, data collected from the Ministry of Agriculture shows that for a demand of 1.4 thousand tons of seed required for sowing on the targeted 46 thousand hectares, farmers have 4.6 tons of soybeans with them. Of this, germination tests were conducted on 3.5 thousand tons of seeds with approximately 2.8 thousand tons of seeds eligible for sowing.
Consistently good prices at wholesale markets prompted farmers to increase acreage of soybeans. This year, Maharashtra is expected to see 46 hectares of soybean sowing fall as farmers prefer this crop to legumes or coarse millet. Approximately 1.4 thousand tons of seeds are required for sowing, and private players are expected to provide 1.2 thousand tons, the rest is mobilized by the state and the Central Government Seed Corporation.
This season, it is expected that approximately 30-40 percent of farmers will reuse their seeds. Over the past few years, the Ministry of Agriculture has pushed farmers to reuse their seeds while setting up special camps to help farmers collect seeds from their crops. Nowadays, the Department of Agriculture assists farmers with germination tests to filter out seeds that can be used to grow a new crop. At least 70 percent of the seeds used in the test must germinate to be eligible for use as new seeding material. Such tests are conducted at the village level by the Ministry of Agriculture.
Dilip Zende, Quality Control Manager, confirmed that they expect farmers to have enough material to meet their sowing needs. “We have district-wide data, and the only concern is that there might be some mismatch between supply and demand in individual counties,” he said.
The best of Express Premium
Ajit Molay confirmed that farmers are reusing their seeds, managing director of Green Gold, one of the largest private seed manufacturers in the state. But he added that the economy will determine the final decision. Presently soybeans are trading at over Rs 7,000/ton. So farmers with stock are liquidating the same. “If spending on seeds is multiple times the return on investment, then obviously the farmer will be spending on seeds,” he said.
Moulay said that private companies also take special care of storing and packaging their seeds, which allows good farmers to get more than usual per acre.
Other than soybeans, farmers said they saw good demand for corn and cottonseed. Both areas are expected to increase significantly.
While seed availability is not a problem, what farmers are waiting for is rain. While the monsoon has officially entered the state, most parts of the state haven’t experienced any heavy rain yet.
Agriculture Commissioner Dheeraj Kumar has appealed to farmers to wait until sufficient moisture is available before planting.