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Selvaraj Professor and Head, ICH, Ooty Date: 02.04.2008 STUDENT Mr. Abid Hussain ID. No. 06-629-001 II M. Sc. (Hort.) - Veg. Sc. Time: 11.00 – 12.00 a.m.

“VEGETABLE SEED INDUSTRY” – prospect and retrospect ABSTRACT India is the second largest producer of vegetables, with a total estimated production of 105 mt from 6.8 mha and a growth rate of 3.8%. The present annual requirement of vegetables is estimated to be 125 mt and is expected to be over 150mt by 2010. (NHB, 2006) This leap can be best achieved through proper use of improved varities and hybrid technology in combination with superior management skills. The Indian Seed Industry at present is worth Rs. 500 crores of which around 200 crores is the export market. Private sector is contributing 60% by value and 40 % by volume in organized seed sector. If we see the opportunities, the Indian seed market can cross more than 10,000 crores worth of business in coming 10 years. Considering the huge area in each crop, the potential for quality seed supply is very high. The average yield is much lower in India in most of the crops even compared to the neighbouring countries. The variation in production and plateauing in yield is a major concern for the agricultural policy makers. (Kataria, 2003) Quality seeds of improved varities are the most strategic resources for higher and better vegetable yields. Good genetic composition and assured quality seed can only guarantee its response to fertilizers and other inputs in the expected manner. The advancement in genetic improvement and production technology of vegetables is directly related to the development of seed industry in the country. The vegetable seed industry in India had a very modest beginning during the sixties and seventies of the 20th century with handful of companies which were mostly selling imported seeds. An important landmark in the development of Indian seed


Industry was the production of hybrid seeds of vegetables for commercial growing. On the lines of the recommendation made by NCA, 1971 the NSP, 1988 allowed that import seeds and germplasm for research purposes. The purpose was to promote developments that would maximize yields and increase farmers income. Presently, by volume of turnover, ratio between the private and public sectors is 60:40. Traditionally, the seed industry was dominated by the public sector, largely due to protectionist attitude of Government. Private sector players were deterred from entering the industry. The industry was characterized by low margins and heavy subsidization. Presently there are about 200-225 private seed companies in India. However there are only a few exclusive vegetable seed companies. Public sector has its strength in improving germplasm by maintaining specific local races and developing high yielding varities and hybrids in some of the crops. To carry out this desirable research deliverable to the farmers in an area where public sector has certain weakness and private sector can certainly hold hand and deliver these research in a much efficient way.(Attavar,2006) Both public and private sector organizations have a definite contribution each to promote in the development of vegetable seed industry and production of vegetables. The role of public sector is mainly catalytic in initiating seed production, quality control, seed certification, notification and registration of varities and other regulatory systems. The private sector with their corporate management skill and scientific and technological expertise have been able to provide the Indian seed industry a strong base to fulfill the challenging task of meeting requirements of quality seeds. Synergism in research between public and private sectors has yielded useful results in many developing countries. The Indian Seed Industry is undergoing wide ranging transformations, which include and increasing role of private seed companies, joint ventures of Indian companies with multinational seed companies with focus on biotechnology, and wide ranging changes in regulatory frameworks, which would affect seed research, marketing and trade in coming years. Joint ventures, partnerships, mergers and acquisition are proliferating in numerous areas of the seed industry between the private and public sectors as well as between national and international companies. The activities targeted in such joint ventures include R&D, production and marketing of hybrid seed. While the reform


process initiated in the India seed sector continues to evolve, the private seed companies keenly await further initiatives and relaxations in the Government regulations in seed market. (Naik, 2001) But ahead along with these green patches some grey areas also exists viz. Intellectual property Rights, Farmers and Breeders Rights, lack of skilled and technical personals, open markets marred with mergers and acquisitions. A rich blend of research activities of private and public enterprises is prevailing in India. Import of hybrids and and OPV in cole crops exemplifies the successful/proper functioning of International seed trade. Seed associations are ready to take up the cause of the industry, to support effective and efficient seed trade with other countries for imports. The hybrids of vegetables are not only higher yielding than OP varities but also many of them are early maturing, disease resistant and superior quality. India has a unique opportunity in terms of breeding a range of vegetable crops. Competent breeders capable of developing superior hybrids, backed by strong production capabilities can galvanize the industry towards development of hybrids not only for the Indian subcontinent but also for other Asian and middle-eastern countries. India has a vibrant vegetable seed industry and appears to be on the right track for the bright future. Key words: Vegetable seeds - Public sector, Private companies and MNCs - IPR – Green patches and the roadblocks

1. Attavar, Manmohan.2006. The role of private seed industry in R & D of agriculture. Present status and future possibilities. Souvenir. 2nd International Crop Science Congress. New Delhi 2. 3. 4. 5. Swarup, Vishnu. 2005. Vegetable Seed Industry of India. Vatika 1 (i): 33-37 N. Anand and Dutta, O.P. 2003.Vegetable Seed Industry in India- Vibrant and looking ahead. World Seed Congress. Bangalore Kataria,A.S. 2003. Vegetable Seed sector of India. Agriculture Today. P.29-32 Naik,N.2001.Indian Seed Industry: On the threshold of Consolidation.