Seed Replacement Rate
Whether a farmer grows certified seeds or farm saved seeds – is at his discretion. Seed Replacement Rate (SSR) or Seed Replacement Ratio is a measure of how much of the total cropped area was sown with certified seeds in comparison to farm saved seeds. However, since every farmer is aware of the benefits of certified seeds; he would want to sow certified seeds, provided he is supplied with required quantity of certified seeds. Thus, Seed Replacement Ratio also denotes actual quality seed distributed to farmers vis-a-vis actual seed required for cultivation of crops.
What does Seed Replacement Rate denote?
A better seed replacement rate shows a better utilization of the Certified / Quality Seeds. Since certified seeds are better in productivity, the Seed Replacement Rate is directly proportional to productivity. Thus, higher the Seed Replacement Ratio, higher is production as well as productivity and higher are chances of achieving nutritional security, food security and containing food price inflation.
India’s Seed Replacement Rate
Supply of quality seeds is not a onetime affair; they need to be produced every new season continuously. The hybrid seeds (those produced by cross pollinating of plants) can be sown only once because the seed from their first generation does not reliably produce the same copies of their parents. Thus, every new crop season requires purchase of new seeds. Producing certified seeds from breeder seeds takes at least three years efforts.
Due to huge demand supply gap, India suffers from a dismal seed Replacement Ratio. Currently, only around 15 per cent of India’s total cropped area is planted with freshly obtained quality seeds every year. A huge 85 per cent area is sown with farm saved seeds. This ratio varies from crop to crop between 7% in staple crops to maximum 70% in some vegetables and fruits. For wheat and rice, it is between 9 to 18%.
We note here that enough seeds are available for fruits, vegetables, flowers and high value / costly seed crops but not enough seeds are supplied in case of low value and high volume crops such as rice, wheat. For crops such as wheat; this ratio must be between 20-30%. For oilseeds and pulses; this ratio must be between 20-100% and for some crops such as Hybrid cotton, it must be 100%.
Without achieving the optimal seed replacement ration, any efforts to get expected yields will be futile.