Maharashtra Seed Companies Will Have to Give Trials of Their Seeds.

A major producer of vegetables in the country are Vegetable farmers from Maharashtra, will not be able to get new seed varieties this rabi season. Before seeking licences for marketing seeds in the state, the seed companies will have to give trials of their seeds on the lands of agricultural universities.

The Maharashtra agriculture department has made it mandatory for the seed companies to give trial of their new seed varieties on the premises of three agricultural universities in the state.

Till now, the seed companies used to carry out their own field trials and submit the results to the licensing authority of the state. A committee of experts will take a decision after considering results of any two trials.

The state government has kept a fee of Rs 50,000 and Rs 75,000 for short-duration and long-duration crops respectively for trial at each location. The seed lobby, which has been trying to convince the government about the difficulties involved in the new system, successfully impressed upon the state agriculture minister to exclude the existing varieties from the new system.

Seed industry officials said "We are not sure if the agricultural universities have the requisite staff and the infrastructure for carrying out the trials." The seed industry has raised many issues about the new system.

the proprietor of a Maharashtra-based seed company said "The fee is not affordable for the small companies." Most of the new varieties of seeds are for the vegetable crops as the customers want diversity of colour, taste, shape, size etc.

An official of the quality control department of agriculture department said "Of the 100 to 150 applications for approval of new varieties, about 80% are of vegetable crops."

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