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West Bengal: STRV seed production and awareness strengthened

by Manzoor Hussain Dar

In sustaining seed production and awareness of stress-tolerant rice varieties (STRVs), STRASA/IRRI-NFSM organized a one-day workshop at the Indian Chamber of Commerce, Kolkata, West Bengal, India on 2 August 2013. The event sought to review the cluster demonstrations and link this activity with seed production of STRVs in West Bengal.

The workshop was organized in close association with West Bengal Agriculture Department and West Bengal Seed Association (WBSA). Sixty participants composed of deputy directors from all the districts where demonstrations are being carried out attended the meeting along with DDA and ADA (seed certification), with 35 from small private seed companies who have major share in paddy seed market in West Bengal and adjoining states.

Mr. DeboJyoti Guha, who is working secretary of WBSA, formally welcomed the participants. Manzoor Hussain Dar (IRRI, STRASA) gave an overview of STRASA activities, IRRI-NFSM demonstrations and sustainable seed production of STRVs. He talked about the common objectives of STRASA and all the participating stake holders to follow the seed delivery strategy which aims to actively promote small-scale farmers’ access to quality seed of stress tolerant varieties. He further outlined the plan to work together so as to address the key bottlenecks in production and delivery of STRVs.

S.K. Bardhan Roy, senior rice breeder and a key collaborator of STRASA, gave a detailed summary of the STRASA activities in West Bengal. He explained how different varieties with single or multiple tolerances are being multiplied and evaluated in West Bengal. He highlighted the performance of these varieties in drought, flood and salinity prone areas of the state.

The awareness programme included presentations from the scientists of RRS, Chinsurah, and the role of private seed companies in the seed upscaling and dissemination of stress tolerant rice and other new varieties from the Working Secretary of WBSA.