Union Cooperation Minister Amit Shah has stressed on the need to provide quality seeds to farmers for increasing crop production and said a new cooperative society, BBSSL, has been established to boost domestic production as well as exports of certified seeds. The minister was speaking at a national symposium on 'Production of Improved and Traditional Seeds through Cooperative Sector' organized by newly established Bharatiya Beej Sahakari Samiti Ltd (BBSSL) here.
Indian Farmers Fertilizer Cooperative Ltd (IFFCO), Krishak Bharati Cooperative Ltd (KRIBHCO), National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED), National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) and National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC) have jointly promoted BBSSL.
During the function, Shah unveiled the logo, website and brochure of BBSSL and also distributed membership certificates to BBSSL members. Addressing the event, the minister said BBSSL has made a small beginning but this cooperative society is set to make a major contribution in India's seeds production. In the coming years, he asserted, this new cooperative will play an important role in India's seed conservation, seed promotion and research work in the seed sector.
He pointed out that farmers are not getting certified seeds that have been produced scientifically, affecting not only farmers but also the country's production of foodgrains. "This is our responsibility that farmers get scientifically produced certified seeds. This work will be done by this new cooperative," Shah said, adding that BBSSL would also promote traditional seeds that are very healthy.
The minister rued that India's share in total global seeds exports is less than one per cent and said BBSSL would focus on enhancing exports of certified seeds from India. Shah said the entire profit made by this cooperative will be distributed among farmers. The minister said the total production of certified seeds is 465 lakh quintals, of which the share of cooperative is only around 1 per cent.
The demand for certified seeds is estimated to rise three times, he said, adding that the cooperative sector should aim to have 33 per cent share. Shah said BBSSL would focus on production, testing, certification, processing, storage, labelling, packaging and exports of seeds simultaneously. "Entire ecosystem will be modern and world class". BBSSL will work in collaborations with ICAR, IRAI, agriculture universities, and Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs) among others and there is no competition with these organisations, the minister said.
Shah said the five promoters of BBSSL have wide experience and reach among farmers and the same is being utilised for the growth of Indian seed sector. The minister said this new initiative is set to boost the rural economy, promote 'Make in India' and pave the way for 'Aatmanirbhar Bharat'. BBSSL came into existence following the thrust given by the Modi government for the need to set up a national level multi-state cooperative society to act as an umbrella organization for advanced and traditional seed research and production along with processing and marketing through the cooperative sector.
It will provide assistance to cooperatives across the country in demand-based seed production, development of infrastructure for storage, processing and packaging of seeds, logistics support, quality enhancement and standardization, requisite certification and marketing of the seeds produced. BBSSL will also assist the cooperative societies in multiplication and conservation of traditional seeds of various crops and varieties. Quality seed production and distribution through BBSSL will increase agricultural production in the country.