Seed System Innovations in the Semi-Arid Tropics of Andhra Pradesh

Ravinder Reddy, C H and Tonapi, V A and Bezkorowajnyj, P G and Navi, S S and Seetharama, N (2007) Seed System Innovations in the Semi-Arid Tropics of Andhra Pradesh. Monograph. International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics, Patancheru, Andhra Pradesh, India.

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We record our appreciation of the help rendered by G Thirupati Reddy, Chief Executive Officer, Awakening People Action for Rural Development (APARD), Kurnool, and the support of Harshal Gawali, K Sanath Kumar, KV Raghavendra Rao and P Subhakar Rao in bringing out this publication. The fodder Innovation Project conducts research in India and Nigeria to enhance the livelihoods of livestock dependant poor people through increasing use of fodder. It is funded by the Department for International Development (DFID) and is implemented by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) on behalf of the System wide Livestock Program (SLP).


The power of a seed is unlimited. As a powerful agent of change, seeds can be a means of overcoming production constraints, thereby making a difference in the lives of the poor and hungry. This requires seed demand and supply to be balanced by way of a secure seed supply system. This would give farmers access to adequate quantities of good quality seed of the desired type at the required time and at affordable cost. Seeds are key components in the conservation and ownership of biodiversity. Accordingly, sustainable seed supply and implementation of seed security are among the major activities outlined in the Global Plan of Action for the Conservation and Sustainable Utilization of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. Seeds therefore represent hope for the future of mankind. Throughout our history, farmers’ informal seed systems have had a great influence on the evolution of modern agriculture, by practising conservation of agrobiodiversity at the gene, farmer and ecosystem levels. Within this framework, women in particular have played a crucial role, as has been identified by a recent analysis, in sustaining the informal seed sector, and more widely, in ensuring food security. However, informal seed systems are heavily dependent on local resources and inputs, and highly vulnerable to natural disasters and sociopolitical disruptions. Therefore, investing in a range of appoaches in order to strengthen local seed systems assumes great urgency. While the formal hybrid seed industry led by the private sector has tended to focus on profit-making species and crops, the informal sector has concentrated on crops – mainly self- or open-pollinated varieties – that are crucial to local food production systems. Given such a scenario, national seed policies concludes helping to strengthen the informal sector. International support too continues to be mainly engaged with the formal sector. Perhaps matching support is required to encourage continued development of informal seed systems. In this context, the concept of ‘seed villages’, which advocates selfsufficiency in production and distribution of good quality seed, is fast gaining ground. Seed villages, or village seed banks, operate under supervision and utmost transparency, inculcating mutual trust and social responsibility among farmers, thereby reducing their dependence on external inputs. Several initiatives have been launched to revive this traditional concept, such as those initiated by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), the National Research Centre for Sorghum (NRCS) and state agricultural universities (SAUs). Similarly, the seed bank concept is part of ICRISAT’s projects in collaboration with the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Tata- ICRISAT project in Vidisha and Guna districts of Madhya Pradesh and the Andhra Pradesh Rural Livelihoods Project (APRLP) in Kurnool district in Andhra Pradesh and other ongoing efforts in the states of Maharashtra and Karnataka. In low-rainfall, dryland agricultural areas, cereals and legumes serve the dual purpose of providing food and income for poor farmers and fodder for their cattle. Given the critical role played by improved varieties in increasing conventional crop production, a key question arises: how do we facilitate the development of an integrated and cost-effective seed system that is capable of generating, producing and distributing improved seed varieties that meet the needs of resource-poor farmers? This book is an attempt to review and document the existing seed multiplication and delivery systems in four dryland agricultural districts of Andhra Pradesh: Anantapur, Kurnool, Mahbubnagar and Nalgonda. While analyzing the problems associated with different seed systems in these districts, the book makes a strong case for strengthening alternative seed systems and seed delivery models that address the needs of small farmers in the context of constantly changing dynamics on the national, international, political and socioeconomic fronts. I am sure this book will be a valuable reference source for those engaged in strengthening local seed systems as a step toward food security in the semiarid tropics of India.

Item Type: Monograph (Monograph)
Subjects: Others > Agriculture-Farming, Production, Technology, Economics
Depositing User: Library ICRISAT
Date Deposited: 07 Jan 2012 13:03
Last Modified: 05 Jun 2017 04:07
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