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Seeds worth Rs. 50 cr. to be supplied

By Nagesh Prabhu

BANGALORE, MAY 27. With the onset of early rains and the probability of a good monsoon, the Department of Agriculture has decided to supply seeds worth of Rs. 50 crore to farmers for the coming kharif season.

The department will procure 8.47 lakh quintals of seeds of 13 crops and supply them to the farmers through the Karnataka State Seed Corporation (KSSC) and 745 Raitha Samparka Kendras (RSKs), B.R. Shankar, Joint Director of Agriculture (inputs) told The Hindu .

He said the department had sought Rs. 50 crore from the Government to procure and distribute seeds to farmers. The Government had released Rs. 2.5 crore and the department was expecting the rest soon, he added.

Mr. Shankar said farmers needed about 5.2 lakh quintals of seeds. However, the department had decided to procure 8.47 lakh quintals of seeds from 65 private and public seed corporations. About 3.15 lakh quintals of seeds would be distributed under the Calamity Relief Fund (CRF) in 162 drought-affected taluks, he said.

Seeds of 13 crops that the department has decided to supply were paddy, wheat, maize, bajra, black gram, sunflower, soya bean, cotton, ragi, tur, green gram, soup pea, and groundnut. Seeds will be provided at 50 per cent subsidy to small and marginal farmers (those who own less than two hectares of land) in drought-affected taluks. Seeds worth Rs. 30 crore were distributed to farmers in the last kharif season.

S.V. Reddy, Additional Director of Agriculture (Organic Farming), said that except in Dakshina Kannada, Udupi, and six taluks in Uttar Kannada district, farmers in all taluks would get seeds at subsidised rates from the RSKs.

Mr. Shankar said the department would supply only certified and good quality seeds to the RSKs. It inspected seeds before they were procured. Seeds were bought from agencies by inviting tenders under the Karnataka Transparency Act, he added.

To check supply of spurious seeds, a committee had been set up. The department had taken note of the supply of spurious seeds in Raichur and some other taluks in the State. It would take action against traders/agencies if the reports were proved, Mr. Shankar said.

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