Hybrid seeds for five tribal dists

JAIPUR: In a first-of-its kind initiative, the state government is supplying hybrid seeds to five tribal districts in the state in a bid to improve productivity. The initiative, taken under public private partnership (PPP) mode, has been christened Golden Rays and is aimed at enhanced crop management and increased market linkages.

According to sources, about 4,000 villages in the districts of Banswara, Udaipur, Dungarpur, Pratapgarh and Sirohi have been provided hybrid corn seeds this season free of cost. "These villages are tribal dominated. They have neither heard nor used hybrid seeds in their lifetime. They practice extremely primitive way of agriculture and have been using ordinary home saved seeds. The idea is to expose them to the hybrid variety even if it is on a small patch of land so as to help them improve their productivity and hence their income," officials in the agriculture department revealed.

The government has tied up with Monsanto Imagine, a leading global provider of technology-based agricultural products aimed to improve farm productivity and food quality, for the purpose. Mosanato has also entered into similar agreements with the government of Karnataka and Gujarat.

"Rajasthan is the largest state in India with a geographical area of 34.2 million hectare. Sixty-six per cent of the population of the state is dependent on agriculture. Rajasthan with 10.35 lakh hectares and accounts for 15% of total corn acreage of India of which only 30% is under high yielding seeds. The average yield of corn in Rajasthan is just 12.4 quintals per hectare as compared to India average yield of 19.4 quintals per hectare," he said.

A total of about 4,000 MT of hybrid corn seed has been distributed to 8 lakh families of which 7 lakh are tribals and rest BPL. "The Dekalb high yielding hybrids have been effective for the agro-ecological climate of Rajasthan.

Project Golden Rays is a project in which high quality Dekalb Corn Hybrid Seeds are distributed among farmers of tribal areas along with a season-long package of promotional support,"officials said.