Thursday, February 2, 2023

Bridging formal and informal seed systems in Odisha through quality seed production and marketing training for women-led farmer group

The demand for quality paddy seeds from farmers is often impeded by factors like uneven access to technology, unreliable seed supply, and uncertain marketing arrangements. This holds true for most parts of Odisha. A few key reasons why farmer producer companies (FPCs) were facing challenges in quality rice seed production can be attributed to a lack of basic know-how and poor crop management practices. Through building the capacities of formal community-led institutions, local enterprises can serve the needs for quality seed as well as provide income opportunities for member women seed producers.

The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and Social Education for Women’s Awareness (SEWA) held a training on quality rice seed production (QSP) and marketing for the women-led Jangha Linga Mahila Farmer Producer Company (FPC) Ltd. on 20 -21 January 2023 in Kolabira, Jharsuguda in Odisha. The farmers were also provided with foundation seeds for multiplication purposes.

Supported by the CGIAR Seed Equal Initiative and the Government of Odisha, an FPC-based QSP and marketing training approach can potentially strengthen the seed systems and bridge the gap between formal and informal seed systems. The program covered seed production in nursery bed preparation, various transplantation methods, irrigation and fertilizer management, and different classes or types of seeds.

Dillip Kumar Rout from IRRI explained different rice varieties and their unique traits to the farmers. Processes like line transplantation were also demonstrated to show the optimum spacing and the ideal number of seedlings per hill.

R.K. Sahoo, a former principal scientist and seed expert at the National Rice Research Institute in Cuttack explained the different classes of seeds such as nucleus, breeder, foundation, and certified. He also tackled the concept of truth in labeling, where what is stated on the supplement label is what the product actually delivers.

The marketing aspect of seed production was facilitated by SEWA, a local non-government organization and partner of IRRI. It focused on the important aspects of seed-based entrepreneurship including crop management, market dynamics, and seed standards.

Mr. Samit Kumar, an associate scientist at IRRI, discussed business development, marketing, various stages in the rice value chain and its actors, market intelligence for tapping high-value markets, contract farming, and guidelines for business contracts.

Mr. Ashish Kumar Panigrahi, an associate seed certification officer in Sambalpur, talked about  the principles, practices, and process of seed certification along with seed supply chain management.

IRRI’s seed system initiatives are highly targeted towards creating awareness, access and adoption of improved products. These can be sustained when an ample quantity of quality seeds is accessible in a decentralized manner and the broader economic benefits associated with seeds can be harnessed.

For more information on seed system innovations and interventions, contact Seed System and Product Management Team- South Asia Dr. Swati Nayak, South Asia Lead, Seed Systems and Product Management, IRRI.


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