History of Seed industry of Indian Agriculture

Spread the love

The seed industry in India has a rich history that is closely tied to the development of agriculture in the country. Here’s an overview of the historical evolution of the seed industry in Indian agriculture:

  1. Pre-Independence Period: Before India’s independence in 1947, traditional farming methods were predominant. Farmers saved and exchanged seeds from their own crops and relied on local varieties. The seed industry was relatively small, with minimal commercial production.
  2. Post-Independence (1950s-1960s): After gaining independence, India recognized the need to improve agricultural productivity to feed its growing population. This period marked the beginning of significant efforts to modernize the seed industry. The government established the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and agricultural universities, which played a pivotal role in seed research and development.
  3. Green Revolution (1960s-1970s): The Green Revolution, characterized by the introduction of high-yielding varieties of wheat and rice, led to a transformation of Indian agriculture. This period saw a substantial increase in the use of improved seeds, especially wheat and rice varieties like IR8 (miracle rice) and K68 (miracle wheat).
  4. Public Sector Dominance: In the early years, the Indian government played a significant role in seed production and distribution. Organizations like the National Seeds Corporation (NSC) and State Farms Corporation of India (SFCI) were established to promote the production and distribution of quality seeds.
  5. National Seeds Corporation (NSC): NSC was set up in 1963 to produce and distribute high-yielding and disease-resistant seeds. It played a crucial role in the dissemination of improved seed varieties.
  6. Seed Village Concept: The concept of seed villages was introduced to encourage farmers to produce quality seeds at the local level. This was part of the strategy to decentralize seed production.
  7. Hybrid Seed Development: The development and promotion of hybrid seeds, particularly in crops like maize, sorghum, and pearl millet, began in the 1970s. This led to increased yields and crop uniformity.
  8. Deregulation and Private Sector Entry (1990s): In the 1990s, India initiated economic reforms, including the liberalization of the seed sector. This allowed private companies to enter the seed industry, leading to increased competition and investment in research and development.
  9. Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Act (2001): The Act provides for the protection of plant varieties, breeders’ rights, and a system for protecting the rights of farmers in the context of plant varieties and seeds.
  • Bt Cotton Introduction (2002): The introduction of Bt cotton, genetically modified to resist pest attacks, marked a significant development in the seed industry. Bt cotton quickly gained acceptance among Indian cotton farmers.
  • Seed Replacement Rates: The government has set targets for increasing seed replacement rates (SRR), aiming to replace older varieties with improved ones to boost crop yields.
  • Seed Village Program (2007): The government introduced the Seed Village Program to increase the production and supply of quality seeds by involving farmers in seed production.
  • Certified Seed Production: Efforts have been made to enhance the production of certified seeds, which are tested for quality and genetic purity, to ensure that farmers have access to high-quality planting material.

The evolution of the seed industry in India has been instrumental in increasing agricultural productivity, ensuring food security, and enhancing the livelihoods of farmers. The sector continues to evolve, with a growing emphasis on research and development, seed quality, and the adoption of modern biotechnological tools for crop improvement.

Leave a Comment