New Delhi/Bhopal: The government has 6.5% lower certified maize seeds than the requirement of 112,372 tonne in 2021-22 kharif season, a senior official in the farm ministry said.
"The government has around 105,027 tonne certified maize seeds. It is nearly 7,345 tonne lower than the requirement. Seeds of other cereals and nutri-cereals are adequate," the official said.
Maize accounts for 60% of total kharif coarse cereals output basket. Certified seeds are produced from foundation seeds, which are derived from breeder seeds by agricultural scientists. They are considered to be the best in quality and yield.
Maize is primarily used in food, livestock feed, and starch industry. A small portion of maize is also used to produce ethanol. Lower availability of certified seeds will not necessarily translate into a big fall in output as farmers also have seeds, the official said.
However, the seeds with farmers may not be of good quality as they use normal seeds for sowing, the official added. The yield of normal seeds is lower than that of certified seeds.
The highest demand for certified maize seeds is from Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka, the leading growers, he said. Most certified seeds are produced at seeds hubs at the Indian Council of Agriculture Research centres and state agriculture universities.
In seed hubs, high-yielding, drought and pest resistant varieties of oilseeds are developed. In the last kharif season, farmers had sown maize across 8.3 mln ha, up 2% from a year ago, farm ministry data showed.
Apart from human consumption, maize is also used as livestock feed and as raw material in the starch industry. In other food grains, the government has 768,740 tonne certified paddy seeds, 10.7% higher than the requirement.
Paddy is the largest grown food grain in the kharif season. Area under paddy was nearly 8% higher on year at 40.7 mln ha in 2020-21 kharif season, farm ministry data showed. The government also has 5.9% more certified bajra seeds than the requirement of 22,606 tonne, 6.3% more certified jowar seeds than the requirement of 11,030 tonne and 10.5% higher certified ragi seeds than the need of 4,535 tonne, he said.