To enable smallholder farmers in the Indian state of Odisha move up the value chain by becoming producers of Certified Seed (CS), training programs were conducted in four villages.

Farmers were trained to undertake quality seed production of a high-yielding groundnut variety, ICGV 91114 (locally known as Devi) with certification from authorized agencies; production practices to raise a good crop that included: land preparation, seed treatment, sowing, weed and water management, integrated nutrient, pest and disease management, appropriate time of gypsum application and harvest, and post-harvest handling of the produce. Besides they were also made aware of important diagnostic features of Devi variety, so that farmers can remove the off-types to maintain genetic purity of the seed.

During the training program, about 32 tons of Foundation Seed (FS) of Devi variety was distributed to the farmers to take up CS production in the districts of Kalahandi, Nuapada and Bolangir. These farmers will undertake the CS production in about 218 ha, during 2015 rainy season. Also, about 3.6 tons of Breeder Seed from Odisha University of Agriculture and Technology was supplied to some farmers to take up FS production.

Training program for farmers from Nuapada and Bolangir districts. Photo: ICRISAT

Training program for farmers from Nuapada and Bolangir districts. Photo: ICRISAT

The project was initiated to introduce high-yielding groundnut varieties and expand the area under cultivation by developing village-level seed production models to meet the seed requirements of post-rainy season groundnut cultivation in Odisha.

Due to low seed multiplication ratio and its bulky nature, private agencies are not interested in groundnut seed production. Hence, to meet the seed requirement, the project envisages production of 750 tons of certified groundnut seeds every year in 2015-16, 2016-17 and 2017-18 through the seed farmers.

Besides low inputs and rainfed cultivation in marginal lands, the most important reason for low production of groundnut has been the non-availability of seeds for the high yielding varieties of groundnut. Farmers in the state continue to use low-yielding obsolete groundnut varieties like TMV 2, JL 24 and AK 12-24.

ICGV 91114 (Devi), a drought tolerant short-duration variety, was identified as a farmer preferred variety under an IFAD-supported grant and released for cultivation in 2008 in Odisha. At that point, as seeds were not available to farmers due to the lack of a seed production system in place, there was no uptake of the variety by the farmers.

To rectify the situation, and make available this variety to the farmers, the project partners initiated a plan to encourage local farmers to become producers of certified seeds. Various classes of certified quality seeds produced by these ‘seed producers’ will be directly procured by the Odisha State Seeds Corporation and reintroduced into the seed production chain.

To maintain the ‘variety pipeline’, large-scale demonstrations of two new pipeline varieties, ICGV 02266 and ICGV 00351, and 30 sets of farmer participatory trials are underway during the current season. ICGV 00351 was recently released in Tamil Nadu and is performing well in Karnataka as well.

About 600 farmers, including 160 women farmers, attended the training programs that were conducted from 29 June to 2 July in the four villages, Khariar (Nuapada district), Lebada (Bolangir district), and Mermahal and Bhawanipatna (Kalahandi district). DY Giri, Senior Technical Officer, Groundnut Breeding ICRISAT, Mr Sharatkumar Tripathy, State Coordinator, Odisha Project along with officials of Department of Agriculture, imparted the training.

Project: Scaling-up of Improved Groundnut Varieties through Established Seed System in Various Cropping Systems of Smallholder Farmers in Odisha

Investor: Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana, Govt. of Odisha

Partners: Department of Agriculture, Govt. of Odisha; National Seeds Corporation; Odisha State Seeds Corporation; Odisha University of Agriculture and Technology; ICRISAT; farmer self-help groups and farmers.

Source: ICRISAT Happenings