Shimla: A spokesman of Himachal Pradesh government today clarified that hybrid maize varieties being procured by the state government are not genetically modified seeds, as the state has not yet allowed any GM seed. The government has claimed that there has been an increase in demand for hybrid maize varieties in the state in recent times, and therefore hybrid seeds developed in the private sector are being procured and made available to the farmers. However, only those hybrid seeds are being procured that have been tested and recommended by the state agriculture university, the spokesperson claimed.
For fixing procurement rates, the government has set up a high-level purchase committee on hybrid seeds headed by secretary, agriculture. The spokesperson said that for the year 2010, procurement rate of hybrid maize seeds have been fixed at Rs 4,000 per quintal for double cross and Rs 9,000 per quintal for single cross hybrids. The hybrid “Double” is a single cross-hybrid of Monsanto Company, which has been duly tested and recommended by the state agriculture university for cultivation in the state. Besides, this hybrid has also been notified by the Central Seeds Committee, Government of India under Seeds Act, 1966. This hybrid has been notified under the name DK-701 (F-7001). Breeder certificate has also been issued by P Padmakar Reddy, South Asian Corn Research Lead of the Company.
The spokesperson clarified that that all the hybrids including “Double” are conventional hybrids and they are not GM seeds. The spokesman further said that the state agriculture university has further been asked to conduct ground test of hybrid maize seeds being supplied by private companies for which samples are being supplied to them. At present, about 25 to 30% areas is under hybrid maize in the state and the productivity of maize hybrid seeds which the farmers have been using in the past, ranges from 40 to 50 quintals per hectare.