Delivering Seeds of 'Orphan' Crops: The Case Studies of Potato and Groundnut in India

This paper examines the performance of the Indian seed system in the context of high volume, low value seed, using the case studies of potato and groundnut. In theory, public sector should be able to address seed needs of farmers growing these crops. However, the ability of the public sector is constrained by a number of institutional and technical factors, and farmers largely depend upon traditional sources of seed. The traditional sources meet more than two-thirds of the total seed demand , and the rest is met by the formal seed system, mainly public seed agencies. Most of the farmers buy fresh seed for quality reasons, and only 12-15 percent farmers purchase seed to change variety. In potato, technological innovation provided options to enhance multiplication rate and improve quality of seed, and therefore attracted the private sector in the production and delivery of seed to farmers. Availability of source seed from public plant breeding programs further encouraged the private sector's participation. However, it is very unlikely that the crops under study will attract private investment in plant breeding because of inadequate incentives even under the new IPR regime. Therefore, public research system should continue to shoulder the responsibility of plant breeding, and develop partnership with the private sector to strengthen decentralized seed activities. Coordination among public seed corporations of different states may help augment seed supply in the deficit regions, and offer greater choice to farmers. Efforts to develop supply chain, especially for premium market, will eventually attract private sector in the product, as well as seed market.

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Conference Paper/ Presentation
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JEL Codes:
O3; Q13; Q16
Series Statement:
Poster Paper

 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2018-01-22

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