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India needed to pass the Seed Bill
Wednesday, 12 January, 2011, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Our Bureau, Mumbai
India was likely to face an acute shortage of foodgrains by 2020, if it did not take immediate and concrete measures, warned the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR). "India needs to prepare itself in advance as foodgrain scarcity is likely by 2020," said Swapan K Dutta, deputy director-general (DDG), ICAR, at the India International Crop Summit, 2011, in Bhubaneswar.

Though the country in 2009 produced 100 million tonnes of rice, it would require about 130 million tonnes of rice in 2020 while the requirement of wheat would reach 110 million tonnes in 2020 against production of only 80 million tonnes in 2009.

The country would also face an acute shortage of pulses and oil seeds in 2020, Dutta said adding the demand for pulses and oil seeds would increase by 140 % and 243% respectively.

“While there was demand for more food grains by 2020, rice yields could fall by 15 % to 42 %, wheat by 34 % due to possible drought, salinity and submergence,” an ICAR report said adding net agriculture revenue would decline by 12.3 % if temperature changes by 2 degree Celsius and rainfall by just 7 %.

As such, the country was not self-sufficient in production of pulses and oil seeds even today. Therefore, Dutta said that India needed to pass the Seed Bill, which was likely to be tabled in parliament in the next session.

The draft Bill had been finalised with provision of compulsory registration of all varieties of seeds, level playing field for all stake holders, operationalisation of seed certification, deregulation, consideration of the GM seeds and establishment of National Seed Board.
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