Today attended a one day seminar organised by KSSDA (Kerala State Seeds Development Authority) which plans to develop and supply traditional seeds, right now they are supplying high yielding varieties.
For high yielding varieties, right now the procedure is they get breeder seed from university which they develop into Foundation 1 & Foundation 2 seeds and Foundation 2 seeds are given to state farmers for developing seeds which are distributed to farmers for cultivation. These seeds are called certified seeds which is inspected for physical purity, genetical purity and so on. Basically authorities inspect at multiple levels to make sure that quality is maintained. Next year again, the Foundation 2 seeds are given to farmers for cultivation, and certified seeds are not used again. The procedure is quite different from traditional seed maintenance where each year, farmers save the seeds and re-use them.
So one point to note that farmers also should be well aware of how to make the purity of seeds so that if any other seeds are found, in the field, it should be avoided, this is a quite important task.
As part of this program, a few people presented their experiences - K.P.Illias, Rajesh Krishnan Wayanad, Manuel Wayanad, Vinod Payyannur,Leneesh Thanal, Sreeja Arangottukara etc....might have missed some people
Some information which I gathered from discussions:
- We have to keep a distance of 3 meters, from nearby fields, so that there is no cross pollination with other varieties. If this distance can not be maintained, then we should make sure that seed collected is from 3 meters inside the field
- Seed authorities can take seeds from a field which looks uniform and healthy and take this as TLS (Truthfully Labelled Seeds) and distributes to farmers, but this won't be a certified seed
- Some seeds like Uma high yielding rice has a dormant period of 15 days in which it won't germinate, after this period, it will germinate
- KSSDA procures seeds at 28.7 rupees per KG and sells to farmers at 40 rupees per KG
-Traditional varieties can be procured as TLS at 50 rupees per kg and sold to farmers at 55 rupees per kg. This is a promising scheme, where farmers can sell traditional seeds at higher rates
- Kerala had around 3000 traditional varieties and India as whole had more than 1 lakh traditional varities
- Leena teacher of agriculture university had recorded 2000 varieties of Kerala
- Thanal cultivates 180 traditional varieties of Kerala
- Pattambi rice research centre has 700 varieties
- Traditional varieties Cheera, Kuruva, Rakthasali etc does not lodge
- Thondi variety is widely used in Wayanad for cooking and in Kannur area people prefer Kayama
- Kuttadan rice is put in April (Aswathy njattuvela?) and harvested in January. In between grass may be choking the rice plants and after some time, grass's life gets over and they whither and rice recovers. By the time of harvest, its stem will be very strong, and food cooked by Kuttadan gives lot of energy for people doing hardwork
- There is a variety called Kothandan in Wayand which gives good yield (upto 2 tons per acre), this was developed from Chomala and from the elder's it was identified that is is Kothandan and named like that
- There is a general concern that traditional varieties are for only organic farming and if seed authority develop seeds how it will be maintained, but authorities are open to address this
- Also farmers pointed out that seed should be with farmers, otherwise they will be dependent on external agency for seeds which is not a sustainable practice, again seed authorities seems to be very co-operative to address this concern