Khammam: Farmers are not getting good quality seeds, particularly cotton and chilli. Fifteen per cent of seeds sold to farmers are not of the required quality, particularly in the case of chilli and cotton seeds. The government is concentrating on supplying paddy, red gram, green gram, til, black gram and maize seeds and not cotton and chilli seeds.
The Field Inspection and Scientific Evalua-tion Committee, or FISEC, under the department of biotechnology which was set up by the Prime Minister’s Office in October last year, observed that farmers are using unapproved genetically modified HT (herbicide tolerant) cotton seeds to save on labour costs. FISEC found 15 per cent of seeds were of unapproved HT cotton in Telangana.
HT cottonseed technology is a third-generation GM (genetically modified) technology for cotton. The technology gives the plant internal strength to protect itself from herbicide sprays that are targeted at weeds. However, this technology has not been approved for commercial crops
Farmers are losing crops worth Rs 50 crore every year in Khamm-am and Bhadradri-Kothagudem districts only because of the inferior seeds. The seed business is more profitable to the seed companies in the state.
These companies have no research labs or a scientific approach. But they pay huge salaries to their marketing staff. They make large profits at the cost of the farmers.
The farm department itself admits that farmers have lost their crops due to spurious and inferior quality seeds. But it has not put in place any measure to put an end to the sale of spurious seeds....