Seeds Of Success

By TheHindu on 09 Aug 2016

MEDAK, Telangana,24/09/2014:Members of KKFF During a discussion in a paddy seed plot. ----PHOTO:By Arrangment

KKFF, a farmer-owned enterprise, helps ryots in producing seeds and they have been earning additional income ranging between Rs. 5,000 and 7, 000 per acre

Availability of good quality seeds continues to be a distant dream for Indian farmers whose natural preference would be to use seeds from their own farm. A viable solution for the growing demand for quality seeds is production of seeds by Farmers Producers’ Organisation (FPO).

Kazhi Kadaimadai Farmers’ Federation (KKFF), an FPO from Thiruvengadu village of Nagapattinam district of Tamil Nadu, has set an example in this direction. KKFF was launched in 2006 as a farmers’ federation in the post-tsunami response programme, initially to facilitate rehabilitation of the affected coastal farming communities in Nagapattinam area.

It ventured into seed production with the guidance of Agri-Business Incubation Programme (ABI) under the Agribusiness and Innovation Platform (AIP) of ICRISAT. It received funding to the tune of Rs. 7.5 lakh for seed processing machinery and a seed fund of Rs. two lakh for their operations through the Department of Science and Technology (DST) under the Technology Development Board’s (TDB) funding scheme.

KKFF initially started paddy seed production with about 25 seed farmer members by sourcing breeder and foundation seed from the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU), Coimbatore. The organisation established its seed processing plant at Mullayapattinam village in Nagapattinam and registered its own brand of seed as ‘Pudhan’ in the year 2009.

In due course, the spread of the seed production unit increased from 59 acres to 250 acres which ensured production and sales of over 300 tonnes of seed annually from there. The level of seed production is sufficient to meet about 20 per cent of the demand Nagapattinam district.

The activity resulted in every farmer member earning an additional income ranging between Rs. 5,000 and Rs. 7, 000 per acre. This factor contributes to encouraging more local farmers becoming profit making seed producers with the present strength of KKFF being over 900.

“Lack of good quality seeds made us forge collaboration with ICRISAT in 2008 and the latter helped us in business plan development, assistance in establishing the seed processing unit among other things,” says A.V. Poomurugesan, Executive Director of KKFF. Currently, this farmer-owned enterprise logs a stupendous annual turnover of over Rs. 1.2 crore.

“Farmers got more from seed production compared to normal grain production,” pointed out S.M. Karuppanchetty, Chief Operating Officer, ABI. “The number of farmers involved by KKFF therefore, has increased tremendously ever since our intervention in 2008,” he added.