Quality seed play a vital role in increasing the production and productivity of field crops. The miracle seeds of improved varieties and hybrids have played a key role in agricultural transformation in India. Over the decade, the role of quality seed is becoming crucial and the swiftness of development in agricultural production largely depends on the progress of seed programs. It is not enough, if a desirable cultivar or hybrid is released unless and until sufficient quantity of quality seeds of such varieties are made available to the farmers at affordable price and at required time.
Karnataka state possesses different types of agro-climatic zones with soil types facilitating cultivation of various food crops, cash crops, fruits and vegetables. The important food crops in the state include rice, sorghum, finger millet, pearl millet, maize, wheat and minor millets. Among pulses, pigeonpea, green gram, horse gram, cowpea, field bean and black gram are the chief ones; while groundnut, sunflower and soybean are the major oil seed crops. Therefore, continuous seed developmental activities and production of quality seeds is very essential in order to ensure uninterrupted seed supply to the farmers and enhance the farm productivity and socio-economic status of the farming community.
Generally, the Agricultural Universities (AU’s), the State Department of Agriculture (SDA) and State Seed Corporations (SSCs); NSC and SFCI will produce the required quantity of Breeder, Foundation, Certified and Truthfully labeled seeds, as per the perception of seed plan. Accordingly, the UAS, Bengaluru organizes Breeder, Foundation, Certified and Truthfully labeled class of seed production, processing and marketing through National Seed Project (Crops) every year as one of its prime mandates at different locations of Karnataka.
The National Seed Project (Crops) was started during the year 1979-80 with the financial assistance from World Bank to the tune of Rs.1.68 crores and a grant-in-aid of Rs.45 lakhs from GOI. Since then, the University has created very good infrastructure for quality seed production, processing and storage. Five seed processing units were constructed one each at GKVK, Bengaluru; ZARS, Mandya; ARS, Honnavile; ARS, Bhavikere and ARS, Kathalagere, with processing capacity of 0.5 to 2.0 tonnes/hour. Further, six new seed godowns have also been constructed during the year 2012-13 by utilizing grants provided by the Department of Agriculture and Cooperation, GOI at different research stations viz., ZARS, VC Farm Mandya; ARS, Nagenahalli; ARS, Tiptur; ARS, Arasikere; KVK, Ramanagara and Chamarajnagar in order to store the seeds produced in the respective areas. Besides, eighteen seed godowns and two seed testing labs were established at different locations of University seed farms / research stations to strengthen the seed production activities by utilizing both RKVY and DAC, GOI grants. The total storage capacity will be around 1.90 lakh quintals. Further, the activities of seed project have been strengthened by providing additional modern seed processing plant, seed storage, threshing and drying yards and other seed production facilities with adequate manpower and infrastructure required for seed research and quality seed production at different research stations and KVK’s.