Use of illegally imported paddy seeds on the riseMany farmers in the district are forced to use paddy seeds illegally imported from India as the domestic seeds market is unable to fulfill the demand.
Many farmers in the district are forced to use paddy seeds illegally imported from India as the domestic seeds market is unable to fulfill the demand.
This year too, nearly 50 percent farmers in Bara district have sowed sona munsuli seeds in their nursery for paddy transplantation that is expected to begin soon.
According to District Agriculture Office, paddy is cultivated on 60,500 hectares in the district. Of the total land, sona munsuli is cultivated on half of the land although it has not been recommended by the government.
The district requires 2,800 tonnes of paddy seeds for the summer plantation season, but only 40 percent of seeds recommended by the government are supplied. “The rest are met by seeds illegally imported from India,” said Shiva Ratna Sah, senior agriculture development officer. “Due to an increased pest infestation, sona munsuli seeds are not recommended by the government.”
However, due to lack of awareness and information, majority of farmers travel to towns bordering India to purchase paddy seeds. The district has been producing 228,000 tonnes of paddy annually. The productivity is 4.26 tonnes per hectare, much higher than the country’s average productivity.
Five years ago, the government had launched a farm development programme targeting to uplift the living standard of people in the bordering areas of Nepal by distributing improved varieties of seeds. “The local still are not aware of Nepali seeds and have been using Indian varieties,” said Pradip Yadav, a farmer at Simroungadh.
As part of the initiative to reduce imports of Indian seeds, the district agriculture office, district development committee and other organisation had distributed 99 tonnes of improved varieties of seeds in 17 village development committees.
The programme, however, failed to create awareness among the farmers to use local varieties or varieties as recommended by the government, agro technicians said.
“This year too, farmers have sowed seeds varieties like katarni, sona munsuli, jaya, siryug 52 including others which are brought from Pioneer Seeds Company of India,” said Yadav.
Agro technician Jageshwor Yadav said that although Nepali seeds are relatively cheaper combined with high yield potential and can tolerate climate stresses, farmers still prefer Indian seeds as they think it increases production. “Due to the lack of awareness, Nepali seeds do not appeal farmers here.”
A senior farmer of Vodaha Ram Chandra Yadav said many farmers are dependent on poor quality seeds which are imported illegally.
The government has recommended swarna sub-1, sawa munsuli, ramdaman, Makwanpur 1, kachorba 4 and hardinath 1 including others.
However, illegally imported seeds like sona munsuli, 6444 of Pioneer Company and among others varieties are still being used by farmers.