Sowing for a better harvest

SEEDS The Budget has announced a 150 per cent weighted average rebate on seed research and development. The measures # The finance minister has announced a 150 per cent weighted average rebate on research and development (R&D) of seeds. The context # Seeds are a key input and determines crop productivity, and improved seed quality alone can contribute about 25 per cent to the yield. Seed characteristics such as germination, high seedling vigour, and genetic purity are as important as other inputs. Thus, while fertilisers and water are important, the crucial input for increasing productivity are superior quality seeds. The impact # R K Sinha, executive director, All India Crop Biotech Association (AICBA) , the association of Indian agriculture biotech companies, said, "This is a welcome move.' Unfortunately, the FM has not granted infrastructure status to the seed industry which would have encouraged investments in the modernisation of seed processing plants, seed treatment and development facilities, godowns for storage, as well as transport and distribution. This, along with the creation of a dedicated Seed and Technology Development Fund, could have given clear signals to global and domestic industry to invest in agriculture. The industry hopes that during the year the government will "grant infrastructure status to the seed industry' and set up a "dedicated Seed Technology and Development Fund' for the long-term benefit of the farmer, industry, and economy.

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