Lockdown Leaves Farmers Worried In Odisha

A delay in the processing of paddy seeds due to the ongoing lockdown has left thousands of farmers from Jagatsinghpur helpless. The said area houses three paddy seed processing units – one run by the Odisha State Seeds Corporation at Tirtol, one by a private agency Live and Let Live (LALL) at Raghunathpur, and the other by Trupti Seed Producer at Tirtol – all of which is temporarily shut.

The farmers take their foundation seeds to these processing units at the Government approved rate. The seeds are then cleaned and graded according to their shape and size. This processing of seeds requires a minimum of 45 days. After this, the seeds are sent to the State Seed Testing Laboratory (SSTL), Bhubaneswar.

LALL secretary, Khetramohan Behera said that every year the unit procures nearly 4,000 quintals of foundation seeds from the local farmers. Before the lockdown came into effect, the unit had already processed 3,000 quintals of seeds. “The rest 1,000 quintals are stocked in our unit as the administration has shut down the facility. The processing of paddy seeds has been completely paralyzed in this district due to the coronavirus crisis,” he said.

“Farmers generally start sowing paddy from the date of the agrarian festival of Akshaya Tritiya, which falls on April 25 this year. It is difficult to supply certified seeds within this period due to the current situation. We have requested the district administration to permit the units to resume operation to ensure delivery of certified seeds to farmers before June,” he added.

The farmers are predicting that if they don’t get certified seeds in time, they would have to sow old seeds, which might result in lower yield. Chief District Agriculture Officer, Rabi Narayan Mohapatra said steps are being taken to allow the seed processing units to resume operation in the interest of farmers.