SEEDS The Budget has announced a 150 per cent weighted average rebate on seed research and development. The measures # The finance minister has announced a 150 per cent weighted average rebate on research and development (R&D) of seeds. The context # Seeds are a key input and determines crop productivity, and improved seed quality alone can contribute about 25 per cent to the yield. Seed characteristics such as germination, high seedling vigour, and genetic purity are as important as other inputs. Thus, while fertilisers and water are important, the crucial input for increasing productivity are superior quality seeds. The impact # R K Sinha, executive director, All India Crop Biotech Association (AICBA) , the association of Indian agriculture biotech companies, said, "This is a welcome move.' Unfortunately, the FM has not granted infrastructure status to the seed industry which would have encouraged investments in the modernisation of seed processing plants, seed treatment and development facilities, godowns for storage, as well as transport and distribution. This, along with the creation of a dedicated Seed and Technology Development Fund, could have given clear signals to global and domestic industry to invest in agriculture. The industry hopes that during the year the government will "grant infrastructure status to the seed industry' and set up a "dedicated Seed Technology and Development Fund' for the long-term benefit of the farmer, industry, and economy.

The Mahatma Phule Krishi Vidyapeeth, Rahuri

almost 57 per cent of geographical area in India suffers soil degradation. The reason attributed for this is often chemical intensive agricultural practices. But a recently published research

Water availability for agriculture was estimated to go down by up to 12% from the current level by 2025 if remedial measures were not taken, Indian Council of Agricultural Research director general Mangala Rai warned. "The water availability for agriculture is projected to be 10-12% of what is now available,' he said while inaugurating the Krishi Vigyan Mela here. Mr Rai said farmers would, in fact, require 25% more water in 2025 than what they are consuming currently to produce food grains for feeding the domestic population.

on october 26, the supreme court asked the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (geac) of the union government to explain why it allowed fresh trials of gm crops. The direction comes on a

india suffers considerable losses due to crop damage every year. assocham has pegged this loss at Rs 140,000 crore for 2006-07. Unfortunately, there is no way to ascertain whether this or similar

A leading specialist on biological farming in Australia recently accused the country's top scientific body throwing him out because he had voiced his opposition to genetically modified (gm) crops.

flyash, the notorious waste product of coal-based thermal power plants, known for its ill effects on agricultural land, may now come as an aid for the farming community. Scientists of

the Supreme Court has permitted conditional field trials of genetically modified (gm) crops approved by the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (geac) in 2006. The anti-gm lobby in India,

Kavitha Kuruganti I was at the Indian Social Science Congress recently, presenting a paper on genetically engineered crops, raising questions on technology decision-making in Indian agriculture