Project meets to upscale pearl millet hybrid seed production in India

Hope

Project meets to upscale pearl millet hybrid seed production in India

Participants at the meeting.

Smallholder farmers are often constrained by the lack of access to seeds of improved crops and varieties. This is one of the biggest constraints to technology utilization, especially to smallholder farmers. Hence finding ways of supporting reliable seed systems is pivotal in increasing agricultural productivity and improving the livelihoods of smallholder households.

The ICRISAT-HOPE project recently identified promising pearl millet hybrids from the public and private sectors adapted to India’s arid zone. On 17 August, public and private sector organizations gathered on a single platform at ICRISAT-Patancheru to identify ways to successfully upscale seed production of these public-bred pearl millet hybrids. Directors of Research
and scientists from four partner State Agricultural Universities (SAUs), and senior management and breeders of 18 seed companies of the Pearl Millet Hybrid Parents Research Consortium (PMHPRC) attended the meeting.

Deputy Director General –Research Dr Dave Hoisington welcomed the participants. In his inaugural address, Director General Dr William Dar spoke on the challenges of ensuring food security and affordability and coping with climate change, and the project’s role in improving the livelihood of small and marginal farmers. He underlined the need to make available quality seeds to
farmer as an important component of sharing the results of research. He pointed in the direction of public-private-participatory approaches to aid the process, and urged the participating institutions to remove the hurdles in smooth seed delivery, by following successful models like ICRISAT’s Hybrid Parents Research Consortium (HPRC).

In the technical session, partner scientistsfromSK Rajasthan Agricultural University, CCS Haryana Agricultural University, Junagarh Agricultural  University, and SK Dantiwada Agricultural University, SK Nagar presented the results of large-scale farmer participatory adoption trials conducted by the project in 2010 and 2011. The group felt that the identified hybrids should reach farmers in the shortest possible time for them to reap the benefits of research.

Under the chairmanship of Dr OP Yadav, Project Coordinator, All India Coordinated Pearl millet Improvement Project (AICPMIP) and Dr CLL Gowda, Program Director – Grain Legumes, the group brainstormed on the release/notification process for hybrids, non-exclusive marketing rights to the private sector for public-bred hybrids, structure of royalty payments, price structure of certified seeds, branding of products, challenges in seed production, and  private sector policies in seed production of public-bred hybrids.

The platform came in handy for some seed companies to discuss the issue of marketing rights for the identified hybrids withseniormanagement of partner public organizations. The meeting
ended on an optimistic note with the group resolving to strengthen administrative systems to improve  public-private partnerships for rapid and efficientseed delivery.