Hybrid Seeds Help Ease Strain of India’s Agriculture Industry

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What are Hybrid Seeds?

A hybrid seed, also called F1 hybrid, is produced by controlled cross pollination between different varieties of the same plant. The process enables the production of desirable traits that cannot be achieved by inbreeding. The resulting seeds produce plants with specific characteristics such as better adaptation to environmental stress, more resistance to diseases and pests, and more vigorous and high yields.

Agriculture in India

However, growth in the Agriculture sector has declined considerably because of increased demand for food coupled with population growth, food insecurity, and the demand-supply gap. The population in India is expected to reach 1,418.7 million in 2020.

Production of high-quality food is a concern because of the depletion of resources and less availability of arable land. Advances in technology can enhance seed production, which, in turn, holds the potential to improve the food condition of the country.

India Population

Seed Market in India

The market has grown rapidly in the past three decades. The Government of India made amendments in the National Seed Project between 1977 and 1991 in three different phases to organize and enhance growth of the market.

Another turning point was the introduction of the New Seed Development Policy (1988-1989), which enabled access to quality seeds by rising investments in companies with good R&D infrastructure.

Over the years, seed production evolved with the development of hybrid and GMO seeds, which are produced through artificial cross pollination or genetic engineering to provide plants with modified characteristics.

Hybrid Seeds

High yields, improved resistance to pests, and tolerance to adverse environmental conditions have increased the adoption of hybrid and GMO seed varieties from the past decade. This shift from open pollinated varieties to modified seeds has enhanced the SRR as hybrid and GMO seeds require frequent replacements. This has considerably improved the agriculture produce in India. However, lack of awareness and poor taste of the produce have restricted the growth.

Demand for Improved Seed Varieties

The quality of seeds is a critical component in agriculture, and its efficacy determines the overall agricultural productivity. A good quality seed can improve production by up to 45 percent. However, the decline in resources has negatively affected the productivity of seeds and created a demand-supply gap.

The decline in arable land has raised the need for more productivity to keep up with the growing demand for agricultural products and to ensure food security in India. This, in turn, has led to the need for an improvement of farm yield and a reduction of crop losses by minimizing plant diseases and pests. Growing awareness about high-yielding hybrid seeds among farmers can lead to a sustained rise in agricultural production.

In addition, unfavorable climatic changes have driven the need for hybrid seeds that can grow in adverse weather conditions. For instance, in 2014, less rainfall influenced cotton farmers in India to switch to hybrid seeds to ensure productivity.