After Onion, low-grade groundnut seeds supplied to farmers

Bhubaneswar: After Onion, now irregularities are being alleged in distribution of groundnut seeds in Odisha. According to allegations, adulterated and substandard varieties of groundnut seeds have been provided to the farmers. While in some places farmers who have used the seeds waiting for the shoots to appear, in other places farmers are doubtful whether the seeds sowed by them will even germinate.

An exclusive investigation done by Odisha Television revealed that seeds given to farmers were adulterated. Some of the seeds within the sample were either hollow or dead.

A cultivated field in Krushna Prasad area of Puri district revealed that while plants have grown in some parts of cultivated area, seeds in other patches are yet to sprout. Such adulteration is seen in the K-7 variety of seeds provided to farmers and worried over such discrepancies, some farmers are even scared of sowing the seeds.

“Groundnut is our bread and butter. However, we have been supplied with such substandard seeds this time that once sowed, we will be left with no choice but to commit suicide,” said a farmer from Krushna Prasad.

Notably, amidst crop loss due to deficient rainfall the state government is laying emphasis on oilseed cultivation. The farmers are being supplied seeds through the Odisha State Seeds Corporation (OSSC).

The groundnut seeds supplied to farmers are from the Maharashtra seeds corporation and have been certified by the Andhra Pradesh Seed Certification agency. The seed packets provided to the farmers bear the packaging date of March 2015 and they are required to be used within 6 months. However, farmers are alleging that the tags on the packets have been tampered by the OSSC and the groundnuts have been procured from the Andhra Pradesh mandis and being provided to farmers as seeds.

The seeds are of very low quality. We are only getting 300 grams of standard seeds from a kilogram provided to us, said another farmer.

“If groundnuts are stored in a de-unified chamber for 6 months they can be used as seeds. However, 9 months have passed. The farmers are now trying to get seeds from Andhra Pradesh which is available at Rs 60 per kilogram. Why the government is sourcing these seeds at Rs 100 per Kg and giving it to farmers?” questioned Samir Das, a farmer leader.

Commenting on the matter, the OSSC has said that it has not received any such complaints and assured that they will probe the matter.

“We will investigate and if in reality such discrepancies are found we will take action,” said Jogendendra Tripathy, chairperson of OSSC.

Earlier this month lapses in Onion seed procurement came to fore following the investigation report of the State Agriculture department on the irregularities in tender fixing for seed procurement due to which sub-standard seeds were being provided to farmers of the State.