Will Hybrid Seeds Transform Agriculture in Southern Rajasthan? Tribal Farmers Hope for Higher Yields with Free Minikits

The minikits are being issued in the name of women, regardless of whether the land is registered in the name of their husband, father, or father-in-law. Priority is being given to peasants from scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, small and marginal farmers, and those living below the poverty line.
Women farmers from Barothi Gram Panchayat in Kherwada Subdivision receiving free maize seed minikits.
Women farmers from Barothi Gram Panchayat in Kherwada Subdivision receiving free maize seed minikits.

Udaipur- In the tribal dominated areas of Rajasthan, farmers have long relied on their indigenous system of seed selection to sustain their agricultural practices.

Traditionally, they would select the best quality maize cobs and other crop seeds from their standing crops, preserving them for use in the next season.

This practice ensured the availability of good quality seeds adapted to local conditions. However, the focus on hybrid varieties by the government has led to a decline in this age-old practice, making tribal farmers increasingly dependent on government or market-supplied seeds.

Recognizing the challenges faced by these farmers, including the timely availability of quality seeds and their economic constraints, the Rajasthan government has stepped in with a supportive initiative.

Under the directives of Chief Minister Bhajanlal Sharma, the state government is distributing free hybrid maize seed minikits to 1.2 lakh farmers, particularly in the tribal regions of southern Rajasthan.

This effort aims to enhance productivity and support the economically weaker farmers by providing them with advanced, high-yielding seeds. The distribution of these seeds has already begun, with 20,000 farmers in Udaipur district benefiting from this initiative so far.

The importance of maize in tribal areas is evident from the fact that almost 15% of the total cultivated area of maize in Rajasthan is in Banswara district alone (Banswara-1.4 lakh hectares, Rajasthan-10 lakh hectares). The government’s policy aims to increase maize productivity by pushing the seed replacement rate.

Officials have reported that free seeds are being provided to all classes of farmers (both ST and non-ST) within the scheduled areas under the state scheme. This initiative aims to supply farmers with appropriate seeds for sowing at no cost, thereby improving their economic condition.

Modern agricultural techniques and the use of advanced seeds play a crucial role in increasing agricultural production today. The free seed minikits distributed by the government offer farmers opportunities to achieve higher profits, says Mahesh Verma, a retired official from the State Agriculture department.

Challenges Faced by Farmers

According to agricultural experts, selecting the appropriate seeds for sowing is a significant challenge for farmers, especially those who are economically disadvantaged. The Rajasthan government is addressing this issue through this scheme by providing seeds to low-income farmers in scheduled areas. The government is targeting villages and areas with a majority of economically weaker farmers and ensuring they receive suitable seeds.

In addition to advanced seeds, fertilizers and advanced agricultural equipment are also being provided to farmers under this scheme, officials said.

Furthermore, during the seed distribution process, farmers are informed about various government schemes and grants to help them achieve greater success in their farming endeavors.

This scheme is a significant step toward promoting equality and social justice in agricultural development, offering poor farmers equal opportunities for growth in the agricultural sector.

Madhosingh Champawat, Deputy Director of the Agriculture Department, mentioned that out of the target of distributing 1.2 lakh minikits of the maize variety DHM 121 in Udaipur district, 20,000 minikits have already been distributed online.

Priority is being given to peasants from scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, small and marginal farmers, and those living below the poverty line.

The minikits are being issued in the name of women, regardless of whether the land is registered in the name of their husband, father, or father-in-law. Eligible farmers can obtain the free kits through their Jan Aadhaar card from their local agricultural supervisor.

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