New Delhi: India can produce a whopping 25 million tons of additional rice a year by using hybrid seeds in a big way, says the seed industry.
“About 25 million tons of rice can be additionally produced if the hybrid seed use in rice crop is raised to 25% from the current three per cent,” National Seed Association (NSA) President M Prabhakar Rao said.
He said the yield from 6-8 kg of hybrid seeds will be equivalent to that of about 20-30 kg of conventional seeds, which are currently being used by farmers for fair average quality (FAQ) variety in one acre of land.
India’s FY’08 rice production is estimated at 96.43 MT.
However, for optimum yield, the hybrid seed, if once used, cannot be kept as a seed from its harvest, which is done in conventional system. So, farmers buy such seeds every year.
“If the seed is used from the harvest of a hybrid variety, the yield will be less. The hybrids, developed by seed companies, ensure their optimum yield,” said Rao, who hails from the paddy-growing Andhra Pradesh.
Pointing out the potentials of hybrid seeds in boosting production, the industry body has asked for infrastructure status so that companies producing these important farm input get income tax and other benefits. It has sought seed business to be defined as part of farm activities since agricultural earnings are exempt from Income Tax.
The NSA has recently submitted a memorandum to the Agriculture Ministry listing its demands, sources said, adding that the government should encourage seed producers with incentives so that more quality seeds are available in the country as the seed replacement rate is very low.
The seed industry in the country is worth Rs5,000 crore and is growing at a rate of 10% annually.