Odisha Has Potential to Produce Rice Seeds for Export: Experts

The New Indian Express, December 01, 2013

Rice scientists have called for improving the quality of high yielding variety (HYV) rice seeds in the State. In Odisha, the seed replacement rate (SRR) of rice is low as compared to adjoining states of West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh. Even as there is a scope for increasing the SRR to more than 30 per cent, little is being done in this regard.

Participating at a workshop on ‘Addressing Barriers to Rice Seeds Trade between India and Bangladesh’ by Jaipur-based CUTS International here on Saturday, the rice scientists said because of logistic constraints, both production and supply of quality HYV rice seeds in the State could not be maintained.

Against a requirement of more than 67,000 tonnes of rice seeds to maintain a healthy SRR of 30 per cent, roughly about 50,000 tonnes is being supplied.

If quality standards are met with adequate supervision, Odisha has the potential to produce enough rice seeds not only for its own farmers but also to export to other states as well as neighbouring country like Bangladesh, they said.

Trilochan Mohapatra, Director, Central Rice Research Institute, Cuttack, said Bangladesh imports 90 per cent of its requirement of rice seeds from China, though importing it from India would have cost the country far less.

He felt it is the trade barriers between the two neighbours that are coming in the way of open trade.

He added that trade in agriculture inputs such as rice seeds can not only improve the economic situation of farmers and traders but also have larger long term political-economic benefits for countries involved in it.

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