With the Union Agriculture Ministry issuing an alert on the threat posed by unsolicited seed parcels, the State Agriculture Department has advised farmers to promptly inform the nearest Krishi Bhavan if they receive mysterious consignments.
In an August 14 advisory, K. Vasuki, Director, Agriculture, directed field-level officers of the department to warn farmers against opening unsolicited seed parcels originating from unknown sources. Farmers should inform the nearest Krishi Bhavan immediately and take steps to destroy the parcels by burning, the advisory said.
The recipients have also been asked to properly sanitise their hands after handling the parcels. Further, the Agriculture Department has warned them against procuring seeds from suspicious sources. Seeds should be purchased only through authorised agencies, the department said.
This is the second advisory issued by the department after the Centre issued a nationwide alert on August 6. On August 12, the department had asked its field offices and department farms/nurseries to keep an eye out for suspicious seed parcels originating from unknown sources.
The Union Agriculture Ministry has asked States and agriculture-related agencies to be on the guard against unsolicited seed parcels. They could have serious implications for the country’s biodiversity as they might contain seeds of invasive species or even pathogens. According to it, several countries, including the U.S., Canada, U.K., New Zealand, Japan and some European nations have reported the existence of such parcels.
“For the past few months, thousands of such suspicious seed shipments have been reported across the world,” the Union Ministry said in its August 6 letter to the State governments, agricultural universities, seed associations and certification agencies, crop-based research institutes and seed corporations.