Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Tuesday, Jan 18, 2005
Agri-Biz & Commodities
`Policy on cotton seeds needed'
Coimbatore , Jan. 17
THE Vice-Chancellor of Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU), Dr. C. Ramaswami, has emphasised the need for an integrated policy on cotton starting from seeds.
`There is no regulation on seed release. Private seed producers continue to introduce newer varieties every season. These are invariably not `certified' but `truthfully labelled' seeds. The release of innumerable varieties results in mix-up of the different varieties in the market place.
"By strengthening the varietal release committee at the State and National level, we can, to a large extent, control both flooding of varieties and poor quality seeds from entering the market place," Dr Ramaswami told Business Line.
At least 200 varieties have been released so far and 99 denotified.
"Most research institutions are trying to replace the older releases. If only the stakeholders come together and consider the industry requirement, growers can be more focused. A regional focus is necessary. A national council involving all stakeholders (from grower to industry) should be formed to make specific recommendations on cotton. This committee should review the crop performance periodically and issue guidelines," he said.
The university has, for the last two years, been emphasising the need for a State seed corporation, not as a business venture, but as a facilitating body. "There should be some agency to promote this venture basically because the State is very weak in seed production," the Vice-Chancellor said.
Meanwhile, cotton, maize and soyabean have emerged as important industrial crop. While the area under maize registered a significant rise, irrigated cotton area tended to drop. The Vice-Chancellor contended this was due to spiralling input costs, depleting water resources and stagnation in cotton yield levels.
Growers, he said, were attracted by the good returns in maize. "It has replaced sorghum, cumbu and groundnut to a reasonably large extent in select pockets," he said and stressed the need for a strong policy on maize.
Reverting to cotton, Dr Ramaswami said the university would, on a trial basis, fertigate the summer cotton crop at its Aaduthurai research station and in the Vaigai belt.
On Bt, he said, the farm varsity was unable to push this technology far because of funds crunch.
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