Seed is an important vehicle for technological innovations. And good seed is one of the first and foremost prerequisites for a healthy and vigorous crop. However, seed is more than an agricultural input and a source of new technologies. A range of developmental, socio-economic, environmental and political issues are also covered by seed: food security, natural resource management, agro biodiversity, intellectual property rights, social dynamics, gender, cultural and religious dimensions, policies and regulations.
And seed technology is the total of all the systematic activities necessary for production and supply of quality seeds in the ...view middle of the document...
Production of seeds through registered growers, and the import of seeds from other countries were tried during the period from 1962 to 1976. These did not work until a suitable system was developed in 1976 based on seed technology concepts. The system developed mostly in the public sector could supply 5% of the total requirement. It was necessary to increase the supply of quality seeds further for raising the yield levels. The main impediment to increase the supply of seed was the cost-subsidy which had to be made available from the Government exchequer. It was then considered that expanded participation of the private sector, which at that time was only limited to trade in vegetable seeds, would be fruitful. A Seed Policy was adopted in 1993 which had provision for balanced development of both public and private sector through necessary regulatory reforms, and since the adoption of the seed policy, the activities in the seed system have been geared in the direction laid down in the policy. Awareness is being created in the private sector and NGOs. Quite a few companies and NGOs have started seed business, but they are mostly confined to low volume high profit seed, i.e., vegetable and hybrids. Public sector has still to provide seeds like rice, wheat, jute, pulses and oil crops.
Structure of the Seed System
If activities of the seeds system management are categorized as varietal development, multiplication, processing, quality control and marketing, it can be said that development took place differently in different categories. In varietal development research activities were noticed as early as 1908 in the field office and jute under the Department of Agriculture of Bengal. Department of Agriculture included extension and research. Responsibility of Research was subsequently handed over to of these organizations are now coordinated by the National Agricultural Research System (NARS).
Directorate of Agriculture Extension had the responsibility of supplying seeds to farmers. Activities of supply and services of agriculture inputs were separated from the Department of Agricultural Extension and entrusted to BADC in 1962. BADC has now elaborate production, processing, storage, quality control and marketing organization. Seed certification Agency was established in the year 1974 and National Seed Board was established in the same year.
After the adoption of the National Seed Policy in 1993, the emerging private seed sector and NGOs have played an increasing role in the seed production and seed supply. In 2005-2006, the amount of seed supplied by the private sector was estimated to be 14,551 MT. BADC still supply the majority of the high volume/low profit seed which include the cereals, pulses, jute and oil crops whereas the private seed companies are mostly confined to low volume/high value seed e.g. hybrid seed of maize, rice and vegetables....