Vast area of Soybean crop fails as bad quality seeds sold to farmer did not germinate
Around 35 percent of the sowing has been done so far in the state.
Aurangabad: This year, with the onset of good rainfall in the state, Kharif sowing has gained momentum. Around 35 percent of the sowing has been done so far in the state. However, sowing in several areas has been wasted due to poor quality soybean seeds. Despite complaints from farmers, the Agriculture Department has not taken the issue seriously, and no action has been taken against the companies selling the seeds.
There are 50 seed companies in the state, including Mahabeez, that sell soybean seeds. These seed companies give seed plots to farmers. Among the seeds produced, most are produced by farmers in Ahmednagar and Buldhana districts. Companies buy these seeds from farmers. Around 50 percent of soybean seeds are produced in Ahmednagar, Buldhana, Nanded, Parbhani, Osmanabad and Latur. Mahabeej accounts for 30 percent of seed production.
Last year, the returning rains were heavy from October to December. As a result, quality soybean seeds were not produced, and there was a shortage of soybean seeds. Moreover, the area under cotton and maize has decreased this year, and more farmers have shifted to soybean. This has also created a shortage of soybean seeds due to increased demand.
Rahuri's Mahatma Phule Agricultural University also had a limited supply of seeds this time. Their seed plots were wasted. Fewer seeds were produced as compared to every year.
Initially, private companies had only about 30 percent seeds. However, many companies procured soybean seeds from various market committees in Vidarbha. They sold those in bags of 30 kgs. Some companies from Marathwada were involved in this. Apart from that, a large number of seeds came from Khandwa and Indore areas of Madhya Pradesh. These companies have sold seeds when they do not have their own farms and are not even registered farmers. The seeds were not of good quality. Many farmers planted soybeans but did not grow them.
Farmers in distress
Pradip Mole, a farmer from Muli (Tal. Gangakhed) said, “We sowed soybeans facing many difficulties, however, because of the company’s negligence, there is no the seeds did not germinate. Now, who is responsible for this? Who will pay for double sowing costs borne by the farmers? Soybean growers have been largely deceived. But neither the Agriculture Department nor the State Government is ready to take action quickly.”
Sandeep Pawar, a farmer from Borda (Tal. Gangakhed), said that he bought soybean seeds from Mahabeej, a government seed company in Akola, but the seeds did not germinate. “Will the companies that have cheated farmers be penalised?” he questioned.
Farmers also said that despite complaints, they did not see any action being taken against those responsible for selling the bad quality seeds. “I waited for six-seven days after sowing but the seeds did not germinate. When I informed the Taluka Agriculture Officer, they asked me to lodge a written complaint. Even after filing a written complaint, no further panchnama or area inspection was conducted. We have no choice but to sow again because if we don't, the whole season will be wasted,” Satish Dagdayya Bendke (Swami) a farmer from Aherwadi (Tal. Purna) said.
Government promises action
When contacted about the same, State Agriculture Minister Dada Bhuse said to Indie Journal, "We have received complaints. We will take action accordingly. We have given such instructions to the Secretary of Agriculture.”
He also added that farmers said that they are facing a shortage of fertilisers in the state when there is an abundance of fertilisers available in reality.
“Shopkeepers are making more money by claiming that there is a shortage. We are currently engaged in that action,” Bhuse added. However, Sanjay Maske, Agriculture Officer, Gangakhed (District-Parbhani), said that it is not possible for officials to visit all the farmers in Parbhani district.
“We have received similar complaints in various places, and we are recording the complaints of all the farmers. We are also going to send the panchnama to the Commissioner of Agriculture. For this, a district-level committee has been appointed, and we have been instructed to go to each district and inspect the area,” Maske said.
Dispute with companies and shopkeepers
In Kopargaon, Shrirampur, Newase, Rahata, Rahuri areas, soybean seeds have not gone well. Some companies have not grown soybeans. Seeds of Mahabeej and Rahuri Agricultural University germinated. However, the seeds of other companies did not germinate. Therefore, the farmers complained to the agricultural service centre.
The farmers said that while some shopkeepers gave new seeds to them in exchange for free, some refused to say that they do not exchange seeds because the companies provide the best seeds. They instead asked the farmers to complain to the Department of Agriculture.
An employee of a company was also detained by the farmers while visiting a farmer's field in Kopargaon area. The shopkeepers of the agricultural service centre mediated and resolved the issue.