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Govt allows import of wheat, paddy seeds

posted Dec 5, 2011, 12:03 AM by Puneet Goyal
New Delhi: The government has allowed the import of seeds of new varieties of wheat and paddy for trial and evaluation purposes, Parliament was informed today. In July, the Agriculture Ministry had revised the New Policy on Seeds Development of 1988 to allow the import of a specific quantity of seeds of both wheat and paddy, initially for the purpose of trial and evaluation. "The trial of the above imported seeds will be conducted by ICAR (Indian Council of Agricultural Research) in their research stations or in the farms which are accredited by them," Minister of State for Agriculture Harish Rawat said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha. In October, the EXIM Committee on seeds recommended the import of 100 kg of wheat seeds of 10 genotype from Mexico for trial purposes, he said. Based on the results of the trial for one crop season, the company may be allowed to import seeds of wheat and paddy for a period not more than two years, subject to conditions mentioned in the revised New Policy on Seed Development, he added. The minister also said there is no paucity of new indigenous varieties of seeds in India for these two crops. During the last three years, 72 new varieties of paddy and 25 new varieties of wheat have been notified under the Seed Act, 1966, he added. Responding to a separate query on rising production costs, the minister agreed, "There has been a substantial increase in the cost of production due to an increase in input costs." The input cost of paddy (paid out, including family labour) has risen from Rs 340.94 per quintal in 2001-01 to Rs 672.52 per quintal this year, he said, quoting the projection made by the Commission for Agriculture Costs and Prices (CACP). (PTI)