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1

The Heritage of Pantnagar Seeds

Pantnagar seeds

Govind Ballabh Pant University of Agriculture and Technology (GBPUAT), Pant Nagar also known as the harbinger of the green revolution, is situated in the Bhabar region of Uttarakhand. The University was established in the year 1960 on a land grant pattern, paving the way for revitalizing the backbone of the Indian economy i.e., agriculture and allied sector. Currently, the university is offering its services in several domains of agriculture and allied sectors, out of which seeds are marked as the (unique selling point) USP of the university. Due to its unique geo-climatic presence, the university caters to all the 3 major sectors of agriculture farms i.e., Tarai, bhabar, and hilly region.

Norman E. Borlaug Crop Research Centre, Breeder seed production center, University farm, and ATIC are among the major centers for the production and distribution of university seeds under the tag name of UTTRAKHAND SEEDS AND TARAI DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION LTD.

Creating an interactive environment where farmers and researchers can come together on a common platform, the university organizes Kisan Mela twice a year, which is planned to display new technologies, innovation for the agriculture and allied sector, expert sessions, and most importantly distribution of seeds season-wise i.e., kharif and rabi season via stalls.

In this case study, we will try to search for the unreplaceable heritage of Pantnagar seeds even when the seeds market is getting plenty of private players with more advancements and marketing budgets.  The reasons behind Pantnagar seeds being the first choice of farmers and also an insight into how the university can maintain the decade-long rich heritage.

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Findings:

The case study was prepared in the 114th Kisan Mela organized for 4 days i.e.   October 13 – October 16, 2023, under which we interacted with a group of 50 farmers mostly from Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh along with the Norman E. Borlaug Crop Research Centre, Breeder seed production stalls, the prime agenda was to dwell the reasons behind adoption of Pantnagar seeds. The discussion draws some common points among which the prime reasons were;

  1. Input Cost– out of input factors (land preparation, fertilizers, seeds, etc.) the seed cost is becoming an issue of concern, even for wheat plantation in an acre seed rate of range 100kg/ha- 150kg/ha is required keeping in consideration early sowing and late sowing varieties. The cost of all wheat varieties is Rs.60/kg which is much more affordable for farmers of all strata i.e., low income, middle income, and high income.
  • Seed quality – seed quality refers to the kind of seed being offered keeping in mind the germination percentage and genetic purity. The farmers are assured by the government SAU regarding its seed quality. The university promises to provide only breeder seeds to farmers with a germination percentage of 95% and a genetic purity of 98 percent.   This is the outcome for decades of trust and proven results which build farmers over the university brand.
  • Seed viability – Seed viability refers to the ability of the seed to germinate and produce seeds. “University provides breeder seeds to farmers with a viability of 3 years i.e., the farmer has to change the seeds in minimum 3 years resulting in cost saving of farmers on purchasing quality input yearly.” Answered Mr. Tiwari’s stall in charge of NEBCRC.
  • Geographical presence- the university is situated in the center connecting hills, and plains growing belts and hence has a wide coverage over major areas of Uttarakhand, adjoining districts of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Since there are no such facilities in the adjoining areas farmers prefer to choose SAU seeds over private companies for cereals and cash crops such as sugarcane, mustard, lentil, etc.
  • University Services – The stall workers are guided with equipped with information that allows farmers to get the seeds which is best suited to their region, for say UP2944 is a late sown variety suitable for plain regions of Uttarakhand and western Uttar Pradesh. It also provides the in-site of extension service being given to farmers regarding knowledge on preparation of bed, depth of seed planting, and planting of seed and fertilizers when using seed cum ferti drill. the stall charge provides a small sample to farmers for live sampling, and demonstration, other than this the stalls were equipped with Flexis providing complete information regarding varieties, seed rate, time of planting, productivity, and the region for which the seed is ideal.
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The seed stalls were as usual in their full stretch with a sale of 55 lakhs on the 2nd day of kisan mela itself getting into the top most sold items among other university items such as horticulture produce, and other allied sectors.

Discussion

Carrying forward with the findings it is easy for an individual to access that the facilities provided to farmers at the SAU Stalls are more than just distributing seeds as they incorporate knowledge dissemination, training, live demonstration of the sample, providing quality tags along with the seed bags.

The other most important thing is the packaging size available at 1,2,5,10,20&40 kg, depending upon the crop varieties making it convenient for farmers to adopt for a trial purpose, as well as for commercial purposes.

CONCLUSION:

Seeds are the progenies of healthy crops; therefore, their quality and purity become a matter of prime importance, and also a prime reason for the trust and reliability of farmers for ages. Apart from just selling seeds to farmers, it is the university’s extension infrastructure facilities and environment that provide not only support to the farmers but also an expert-based knowledge base for good productivity.

With its motto of service and reasonable return on profit, it makes out the SAU’s Seeds in the seed market.

Another minor issue that is covered under the envelope is the availability of several hills crops/varieties in kharif and rabi season chiefly madua, soybean, gahat, rajma, and Ramdana in kharif and rabi crops. There is an acute shortage of certified seeds for minor crops and universities released this problem and considered them even before the private firms focused on it.

Rajat Joshi, a BSc Agriculture graduate, is currently pursuing an MSc in Agriculture Extension. With a strong foundation in agriculture, he aspires to bridge the gap between cutting-edge research and farmers' needs. Rajat is dedicated to enhancing sustainable practices and facilitating agricultural growth in his community.

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