Quality seed act as catalyst for realizing the potential of all other inputs without which the investment on others inputs such as fertilizer, irrigation and pesticides will not pay desired dividends to the farmers as well as to the country. Use of quality seeds alone could increase 20-25 % of the yield. And under optimum management, the increase may touch upon upto 45%. Although modernization of agriculture and development of modern seed industry resulted in increased availability of quality seeds to end users, still 65 per cent of the planted seeds are farm-saved type. The quantum of use of such saved seeds varies from state to state and depends on the development of seed industry, literacy of farmers, awareness of farmers about the economic benefits of use of improved quality seed, and role of extension workers. Sustained increase in agriculture production and productivity is dependent, to a large extent, on development of new and improved varieties of crops and an efficient system for timely supply of quality seeds to farmers.
However, a large gap is still discernible between the production and availability of quality seed to the farmers at an affordable price.Therefore, availability of quality seed of hybrids as well as improved varieties with superior genetics to the farmers in time is crucial for enhancing agriculture production as well as to ensure food and nutritional security of the fellow countrymen in the country.
Indian Institute of Seed Science (IISS) is having the mandate of conducting basic, applied, strategic & anticipatory research, as well as coordination of network projects viz., AICRP-NSP (Crops) for breeder seed production and seed technology research in the country, ICAR Seed Project Seed Production in Agricultural Crops to strengthen seed infrastructure in SAUs and ICAR institutes.
Under AICRP-NSP (Crops), 115711.9 quintal of breeder seed of different field crops was produced during 2019-20 in 45 breeder seed production centres. In all major crops, breeder seed production has surpassed the indents. Mismatching owing to non- lifting of breeder a seed has reduced considerably. In Seed Technology Research (STR) of AICRP-NSP (Crops) to maximize hybrid & varietal seed production, development of biochemical and molecular markers in establishing diagnostic characters of different varieties/hybrids, development of improved package for safe storage of seed, development of seed enhancement techniques, development of quick, reliable and repeatable vigour tests, management of major seed borne diseases in pulses, cereals and oilseeds, development of field and seed standards for seed borne diseases, identification of disease free location, biological control of seed borne diseases have been developed by 24 Seed Technology Research (STR) centres.
Under ICAR Seed Project Seed Production in Agricultural Crops, co-operating centres have produced 121276.5 quintal of foundation seed, 163159.1 quintal of certified seed, 97109.5 quintal of truthfully labelled seed of various field crops, 39267.5 quintal of planting material of sugarcane has been produced during 2019-20. IISS along with its co-operating centres has made positive intervention in Tribal areas through Tribal Sub Plan (TSP) by supply of quality seed and capacity building programme. ITKs were also explored and exploited in devising low cost technologies especially for storage and plant health care.