Anantapur: Groundnut farmers in the district are facing a tough time due to poor germination of seeds that were not certified, coupled with deficit rainfall and lack of proper monitoring.
Scientists at the Agriculture Research Station, Rekulakunta, tested the seeds sown in June, July and August to assess the likely yield, and found that average final yield is likely to be below 500 kg per hectare.
With 532 mm rainfall recorded from June 1 till August 20, the groundnut crop has been badly damaged in the district. A farmer, Saradamma from Gooty, had sown in 10 acres and already incurred Rs 1.5 lakh loss while many others are facing a similar fate. Another tenant farmer, Ranganna from Abbedoddi, who had sown in five acres incurred Rs 80,000 loss.
In 2008, when there was excess rainfall, the yield was 88 kg/hectare. In the last 25 years, profitable groundnut yields were recorded only in seven years – 1995 (1,310 kg/ha), 1996 (711), 1998 (1,145), 2000 (1,116), 2004 (798), 2007 (1,258), 2017 (992), 2018(1240), 2019 (1,250)
Diversification of crops is required to avoid losses, observed Dr. M. Suresh Babu of Praja Science Vedika. “Of the seeds that are distributed on subsidy through the department of agriculture, only 18 percent are certified seeds. In 2021 kharif, of the 5.8 lakh quintals of seed distributed by the department of agriculture, only 1 lakh quintals were certified seeds and the rest were truthful seeds,” he said.
Truthful seeds are not subjected to the seed certification process but have a label provided by the seed producers themselves, indicating the germination and purity levels of seed. The system of seed production and distribution with regard to groundnut has several implications for seed quality.
The seeds of groundnut in this area are categorised into K6, Gujarat Junagadh Groundnut -32, Tag 24, ICGV 350 and KL (Kadiri Lepakshi 1812). Groundnuts are categorised according to their test weight (100 seed weight) as bold (58.2 g), medium (37.9 g), small (24.9 g), small wrinkled (13.4 g) and control (30.3 g) seed lot, a report revealed.
The ruling K6 is a variety that was released seven years ago and is in use in Anantapur district for more than six years. When this variety is used continuously over many years, the virility of seeds gets eroded as the genetic and physical purity of the seed wears down over the years, experts opined.
Though the quantity of seeds produced by the formal seed production system is very limited, the breeder-foundation-certified seed chain is often broken and seeds get diverted to the open market. Even though seed agencies enter into agreement with farmers regarding procurement of seeds produced by them, the contracts often do not bind the farmers and seeds produced get diverted into the open market....