Hyderabad: The Telangana government on Monday urged the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations (UN) to collaborate with it to help the State fully realise its potential to emerge as a global supplier of quality seed.
Principal Secretary (Agriculture) C Parthasarathi made the proposal at the inaugural session of a two-day international workshop on ‘Seed production, quality control and marketing’ organised by the FAO in Hyderabad. The workshop is a precursor to the International Seed Testing Agencies Congress beginning in the city from June 26.
The two-day event was inaugurated by Assembly Speaker Pocharam Srinivas Reddy who said Telangana has great potential to export seed of various crops to many African and Southeast Asian nations. Telangana State Rythu Samanvaya Samiti chairman Gutha Sukender Reddy said it was time for countries to allow free trade of seed across borders, which will benefit farming communities across continents.
Parthasarathi said Telangana was currently the ‘Seed Bowl of India’ as it enjoys good agro-climatic conditions, has skilled manpower resources, infrastructure and logistics for quality seed production and storage. “The State meets more than 60 per cent of India’s seed requirement,” he said.
Hyderabad, he said, was home to several research institutes whose expertise can be leveraged for improved seed production as per the vision laid out by Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao and develop Telangana as a global seed hub. In addition to the likes of ICRISAT and several institutions belonging to the Indian Council for Agricultural Research such as IIOR, IIMR, CRIDA and RFSPC, the State was home to around 2.5 lakh skilled seed farmers across 1,500 villages who grow about 65 lakh quintals of seed over three lakh acres every year, he said.
Telangana also has more than 400 national and multi-national private seed companies that have research and development facilities in and around Hyderabad. It was at the forefront of sectoral reforms, including implementation of the 36-nation Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development seed production norms, and a fully online seed certification system. It was working closely with international seed organisations such as ISTA and ISF to realise the vision of making Telangana as a global seed hub, he said.
Telangana has similar geographical and climatic conditions as well as soil types as Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Nigeria, Egypt and Sudan in Africa, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Philippines and Thailand in Southeast Asia and even some North American and European countries. This made Telangana ideal to supply seed for crops such as sorghum, corn, pearl millet and cotton to African nations; and rice, corn and vegetables to Southeast Asian countries, Parthasarathi said.