KHAMMAM: Dealers of seeds in Khammam district are complaining of harassment by police and other authorities even though they are carrying out a legitimate business. They say different interpretation of a memo issued on May 9, 2017 on “inclusion of seed varieties” has caused confusion, leading to needless raids on shops selling seeds in Khammam district.
According to dealers, Telangana High Court had directed state agriculture department not to insist on seed companies to include varieties or hybrids in the seed license whenever a new variety of seed is released into the market by a licensed company. It pointed out that Seeds (Control) Order, 1983 makes no specific mention of registering varieties of seeds before marketing them in the state.
Basing on the court’s order, agriculture department directed mandal agricultural officers not stop marketing of seeds on grounds that the specific variety of the seed has not been included in the seed license. This implies seeds produced by one license holder can be marketed by another license holder. However, to carry out seed business in the state, dealers will have to compulsorily take a license from the licensing authority.
Dealers say if a company does not have a storage point or sale outlet in a particular state, they can still sell their seeds through dealers or distributors having a valid license issued by the respective state government.
For example Yasaswini, a chilli seed variety, is produced by Mahyco and is being profitably cultivated by many farmers in Telangana. Dealers contend that there is no need for Mahyco to get a license for selling Yasaswini. Yet, in practice, some of the dealers are being booked under IPC section 420 for selling this variety. Two dealers in Sujathanagar and a dealer of Khammam have been booked under this section.
Though dealers are being booked by authorities, farmers are running around shops demanding hybrid chilli seeds including Yasaswini, 2222 and Armour.
Telangana Seed Dealers Association leader Manohar Rao charges that cases are being booked against dealers even under cognisable sections.
“There is no dearth of seeds in the district. We are selling chilli seeds at MRP in Khammam district compared to other districts, where sellers collect Rs. 200 more than MRP on a ten gram seed packet. Because of this, farmers from other districts are coming to Khammam for chilli seeds. With this, demand for chilli seeds has suddenly increased,” he said.
Yet cases are being booked against them by police department in the name of checking sale of spurious seeds, say dealers, who have brought their standpoint to the attention of joint director agriculture V. Srinivasa Reddy. The JD said they have written to the agriculture minister for a clarification on the issue.