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Seed Germination Failure Problems turning serious in Maharashtra

Seed germination failure problems started June onwards and persist even now. The matter turns serious now with 83 FIR's being file with over 1.6 lakh complaints from farmers

Abhijeet Banerjee

The germination problem of soybean is turning out to be a serious concern among farmers now. The problem was first reported in the last week of June from producing belts of Maharashtra. The Seed manufacturers during that time cited the lockdown, as one of the main causes as it adversely impacted the process of certifying seeds. Most farmers then demanded interventions from the state government interventions now, in order to get the matter resolved. Soybean is the second-largest crop in Maharashtra state after cotton and gives good returns to the farmers almost every year Soybean is a major Kharif crop of the Country. Maharashtra leads the production and there are reports of area coverage crossing 42 lakh hectares till date. Heavy rains during last year had increased the higher moisture content in the seeds and as a result the germination rate of the seeds had reduced from 70 to 60 per cent. 

Till end of July total complaints raised by farmers across Maharashtra had crossed 1.6 lakhs, including 83 FIRs against seed companies for their alleged role in supplying spurious seeds. The complaints were germination failure of soybean seeds in the last two months. Till now nearly 83 FIRs have been lodged against seed companies. Seed company officials have expressed concern regarding current state of affairs on the verge of turning out to be a critical issue in coming months, since many firms have decided to exit the soybean seed sector, against the criminal FIRs being filed. 


Farmers went for early sowing this year but in last two months, germination failure of soybean seen has increased reasonably. Inferior quality of seeds, insufficient soil moisture to deep sowing, has resulted in failure of the oilseed to germinate on time as per farmers and seed company officials. Some seed firms said manufacturers from Madhya Pradesh have already opted out of manufacturing soybean seed for the next season and there are many players in Maharashtra also, who have decided to quit manufacturing. According to Ajeet Mulay, chairman of Seed Industries Association of Maharashtra, there may be higher possibility of short supplies of seeds for farmers next year due exit of private players. The FIRs against seed companies have disturbed the industry to a great extent, where private players are more in number.  

Mahabeej in Maharashtra has started the work of replacing both the seeds, apart from providing monetary compensation to the farmers who had used the seed offered by Mahabeej, which is the state government’s seed corporation. So far, 988 quintals of seeds have been replaced by the corporation. It has also given compensation to farmers worth Rs 74.14 lakhs. Nearly 70 per cent of the complaints related to supply of inferior quality seed, as per senior officers of the Agriculture department of Maharashtra.  

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