Maharashtra writes to Centre against Madhya Pradesh’s ban on movement, sale of soyabean

After Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra is the biggest soyabean producing state in the country with farmers growing the oilseed in over 35-40 lakh hectares yearly. The state requires at least 12 lakh quintals of soyabean for seed purposes annually.

Maharashtra’s agriculture department has written to the central government recently against the Madhya Pradesh government’s order banning the sale and movement of soyabean seed outside the state. Senior officials of the state government, including the agriculture secretary and commissioner, have asked the Centre to intervene and cancel the order, stating it is in contravention of the Seed Act, 1983.

Earlier this month, agriculture officers from Indore and Ujjain had issued letters stopping the movement and sale of soyabean seed outside their jurisdiction. This decision was taken due to the possible crunch to be faced in the supply of seed in the upcoming kharif season.

With soyabean trading in historic highs in most wholesale markets, farmers are supposed to increase the acreage of oilseed, which can led to a seed shortage.

After Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra is the biggest soyabean producing state in the country with farmers growing the oilseed in over 35-40 lakh hectares yearly. The state requires at least 12 lakh quintals of soyabean for seed purposes annually.

The private sector accounts for more than 80 per cent of the seed sold and a vast majority of farmers engage in seed production activities in Madhya Pradesh. As compared to their counterparts in Madhya Pradesh, farmers in Maharashtra are more likely than not to buy seeds from markets.

Senior officials of the state agriculture department said this order comes at a time when companies were ready to place their seeds in village-level shops. “At least 2-3 lakh quintals of seed already paid for by the companies is now in Madhya Pradesh and this order has stopped them from accessing their product…” said a senior official of the agriculture department.

Officials of seed companies told The Indian Express that this order would be the last straw in an already tight supply situation. A large number of companies had decided to curtail their soyabean operations in Maharashtra.

This was because of the multiple FIRs and complaints filed against seed companies in the state last season after farmers complained of seed failure. The state agriculture department had undertaken a massive campaign asking farmers to preserve seeds for the next season.

In their letter, state government officials have said the orders by Madhya Pradesh officials were in contravention of the Seed Act of 1983. A high-level meeting in this matter is expected to be held on Friday.

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