Farmer-led popularization and dissemination of new rice varieties in Telangana help close the seed gap
Farmer performing a crop-cutting experiment to get a reliable, cost-effective estimate of crop yields and other information on a rice variety for comparison. (Photo: IRRI India)
Even though Telangana is one of the leading rice-producing states in India, the awareness and options around new varieties among a significant number of smallholder farmers is a major challenge. Providing access to seed, particularly of newer varieties, is a difficult task because of capacity constraints in formal seed systems. Additionally, the community-led seed network is underdeveloped and underutilized by mainstream seed programs. Farmer-led interventions are closing these loopholes, widening the varietal choices available to the farmers, and evaluating on-farm assessment to aid farmers in the selection and adoption of the potential varieties.
Subeejam Sukshetre Jayate Sampadyathe (Good seed in good soil yields abundantly) is mentioned in the ancient Indian scripture Manusmriti reaffirming the significance of quality seeds in rice-based agrarian economies. The importance of quality seeds of best-fit varieties is central to a sustainable food system that catalyzes farm prosperity and augments the livelihood of farmers.
Even though Telangana is one of the leading rice-producing states in India, the awareness and options around new varieties among a significant number of smallholders is a major challenge, according to several stakeholder consultations.