The role of seed technology is to protect the biological entity of seed and look after its welfare.
COWAN, 1973: Defined Seed Technology as that “discipline of studies having to do with seed production, maintenance, quality and preservation”.
FEISTRITZER, 1975: Seed technology as “the methods through which the genetic and physical characteristics of seeds could be improved. It involves such activities as variety development, evaluation and release, seed production, processing, storage and certification”
Seed technology includes the development of superior crop plant varieties, their evaluation and release, seed production, processing, seed storage, seed testing, seed quality control, seed certification, seed marketing, distribution and research on seed these aspects. Seed production, seed handling based on modern botanical and agricultural sciences.
It is a multidisciplinary science encompassing a range of disciplines such as:
Development of superior varieties
Marketing and distribution
India is a vast country and bestowed with varied soils and has got different agro climatic zones, enabling year round cultivation of crops. By and large, most seed crops are grown during Kharif season. However most of the vegetable crops are produced in Rabi season and they posses better quality seeds than the crop grown in kharif. Indian farmers can practice with multiple cropping systems.
The farmers can opt for different crops like cereals, pulses oil seeds, vegetables, fibre crops, etc., in all the three seasons viz., Kharif, Rabi and summer.
With the advancement of agriculture, the government of India felt that there is a need to establish Seed Technology department in Agricultural Universities and ICAR institutes in India after the recommendations and suggestions given by National Commission on Agriculture. Accordingly, the Seed technology department was initiated throughout the country with the following main objectives.
To teach seed technology course.
Research on seed production/processing/testing.
To strengthen the seed technology research.
To give training to those who are involved in seed production, processing, testing, etc.
Rapid multiplication: To increase agricultural production.
Timely supply: New varieties must be available in time.
Assured high quality of seeds: Good vigour and viability.
Reasonable price: Cost of seed must be low to reach the average farmers.
Feistritzer (1975) outlined the following as roles of improved seed.
A carrier of new technologies
A basic tool of secured food supply
The principal means to secure crop yields in less favorable production areas.
A medium and rapid rehabilitation of agriculture in cases of natural disaster
India is considered as a developed country as for as the seed sector is concerned. By volume of seed we produce and distribute, we surpass many (western) nations in this trade. The Indian seed industry at present consists of two national organizations (NSC and SFCI), 12 state seed corporation about 150 large size private seed companies, 19 state seed certification agencies and 86 notified seed testing labs.
Area under seed production:India
The estimated requirement by 2010 is 126.55 lakh quintals. The quantity of buffer stock under seed security programmes in India has been fixed as follows (Singh, 1990).
- Self pollinated crops 5 per cent
- Hybrids 10 per cent
- Foundation seed 25 per cent
- Breeder seed 50 per cent