Seed Consortium strengthens postrainy sorghum seed value chain in Maharashtra, India

Seed Consortium strengthens postrainy sorghum seed value chain in Maharashtra, India

Dr Ch Ravinder Reddy, presenting an overview of the seed system

Dr Ch Ravinder Reddy, presenting an overview of the seed system

An innovative seed consortium developed by ICRISAT and its partners has started yielding results in strengthening the sorghum seed value chain.

For 2014 postrainy season around 300 tons of seed enough for 30,000 ha has been made available as a result of the seed production undertaken in 2013. It is proposed to cover 1,000 ha under seed production during 2014 postrainy season which is more than double the area under seed production in 2013. These results were shared at the First Annual Review and Workplan Meeting of the Seed Consortium held on 16 June at Pune, India.

Based on the achievements of the Harnessing Opportunities for Productivity Enhancement (HOPE) of Sorghum and Millets in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia project a Seed Consortium was formed in 2013. The consortium developed an innovative seed system model with clearly defined responsibilities and targets for each partner.

The universities identify the seed farmers, train them in seed production and supply the necessary Foundation seed to undertake Certified seed production. The Maharashtra State Seed Certification Agency certifies the seed production plots. The Maharashtra State Seed Development Corporation (Mahabeej) gives a buy-back guarantee and procures the seeds from the farmers. It then processes the seeds and supplies to farmers though its network. This ensures on-time availability of quality seed to the farmers.

The other partners in the consortium are: Indian national agricultural research system, public sector seed agencies, Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs), community based organizations (CBOs) and farmers. The objective of the consortium is to strengthen the postrainy sorghum seed systems for enhanced sustainability of interventions.

Dr Ch Ravinder Reddy, Senior Scientist, Technology Exchange, ICRISAT, presented a brief overview of the existing seed systems in postrainy sorghum in Maharashtra, seed availability, access by the farmers and the work done on implementation of the seed system model.

Mr SR Gadakh, Senior Sorghum Breeder, Mahatma Phule Krishi Vidyapeeth, pointed out that through the HOPE project more than 42,000 farmers benefited directly by enhancing their grain yields by 39% and stover yields by 30% in the last five years.

Dr N Nagaraj, Principal Scientist-Economics, ICRISAT indicated that the HOPE interventions enhanced technology adoption rates, reduced the yield gaps by 30%, increased productivity and gave higher returns to farmers (35-44%).

Mr Umakant Dangat, Commissioner of Agriculture, Govt. of Maharashtra, indicated that the Department would adopt all recommendations. Further, he indicated that HOPE interventions should continue in Maharashtra and that the Department would be able to fund the interventions so that maximum number of farmers can be reached.

This activity was undertaken under the CGIAR Research Program Dryland Cereals. The HOPE project is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Mr Umakant Dangat (3rd from right) Commissioner of Agriculture, Govt. of Maharashtra chairing the annual review meeting

Mr Umakant Dangat (3rd from right) Commissioner of Agriculture, Govt. of Maharashtra chairing the annual review meeting