Organic seed production-Issues and strategies
L Meghachandra Singh
Contd from previous issue
5. Proper crop/variety wise organic seed demand forecast in phase manner through planning of organic production programme by the organic farmers group/supporters.
Lack of proper demand forecast has been the major constraint in making any seed programme a success. Thus, implementing an organic seed productionprogramme would be much more risky not only because of the unpredictable demand of the diverse and small farmers’ dominant system, but also for the much higher cost of production. Thus, in order to make the organic agriculture a success, a well-planned forecast of seed demands of different crops/varieties in advance could be only the way.
This is possible only when the market demand of organic produce could be well assessed and correctly predicted. If we have to develop specifically for particular organic varieties, it would require at least 4 to 5 years for selection of suitable varieties/landraces. Techniques like participatory breeding/selection approaches have been found helpful in reducing the varietal development duration. Organic seed production, would therefore, be a thriving enterprise only when we can predict the demand well in advance.
TIPS ON CULTURAL REQUIREMENTS ON ORGANIC SEED PRODUCTION OF SOME IMPORTANT CROPS
As any planting material/seed comes
High biomass production, Deep rooting System, Fast initial growth, More leaf than wood (low C/N ratio) Nitrogen fixing, Non-host for related pest and diseases, No rhizomes,Easy and abundant seed formation under the purview of Seeds Acts and Rules, should have good seed quality i.e., high planting value whose criteria are well established under the conventional seeds (inorganic agriculture).
Thus, the major point of demarcation is that the conventional seed allow usage of inorganic materials/practices in its production and post production stages while organic seeds do not allow it. Production packages of organic seeds are similar to those of conventional seeds except that, in organic seed production, special requirements of organic farming are to be adhered to so that no inorganic residue or chemicals could be carried forward by using it. The followings are some of the additional requirements for organic seed production, in general for some important crops in addition to the conventional seed production requirements other than the application of inorganic chemicals/products.
1. Green Manuring: Trees. shrubs, cover crops, grain legumes, grasses, weeds, ferns and algae provide green manure as an inexpensive source of organic fertilizer to build up or maintain soil organic matter and fertility. The cumulative effect of the continued use of Green manures are important not only in terms of N supply but also with regard to soil organic matter and phosphate and micro-nutrients which are mobilized, concentrated in the topsoil and made available for plant growth.
Criteria for selection of plants for Green Manuring
Mobilization of nutrients from soil into vegetation, suppression of weeds, pumping up of weathered and / or leached nutrients from soil layers not occupied by roots of main crop. (To be contd)