The Maharashtra government has acted against five companies for supplying bogus or substandard soyabean seeds in the state. After Agriculture Minister Dadaji Buse's surprise visits in shops and on the farms, the government initiated legal proceedings against the companies in Akola Vidarbha region. The companies include state-run Maharashtra State Seed Corporation (Mahabeej), Vardan Biotech, KDM Seeds, Saras Agro Industries and Pragati Agro Services.
The government’s action comes days after the Shiv Sena’s ruling ally Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) had demanded action against seed companies that had allegedly supplied substandard stock to farmers. It had further called upon the agriculture minister to delist such companies and make to pay for the financial losses incurred by the farmers.
The government’s move is crucial as various farmer organisations had complained that farmers in Vidarbha and Marathwada have sown soyabean, but the seeds did not germinate, which compelled the farmers to go for second showing.
Maharashtra is the biggest cultivator of soyabean, which is sown on 41 lakh hectares in the state. Maharashtra State Seeds Corporation Limited, also known as MAHABEEJ, is a nodal seed supplying company of the state. There are 38,479 seed suppliers across the state.