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Information Exchange in Commercial Seed Markets in Rajasthan

Research reports

Although it is widely agreed that the private sector should take major responsibility for input delivery, concerns are often expressed about the degree to which commercial firms address the needs of resource-poor farmers. This paper examines the performance of the pearl millet seed market in a part of Rajasthan that is gradually increasing its utilisation of commercial inputs. The analysis focuses on the exchange of information between farmers and seed providers. About two-thirds of the farmers plant commercial pearl millet seed (public or private hybrids). They easily distinguish between hybrids and local varieties, but relatively few farmers are able to recognise the names or characteristics of the different commercial hybrids. Farmers are also confused about the names of public and private seed companies. When choosing which seed to purchase, farmers tend to rely on the advice of other farmers or merchants. Information flow from farmers to seed companies and plant breeders is also deficient. Despite these problems, commercial seed market expansion has had a positive effect on farm productivity. Suggestions are made for improving farmers. awareness of the characteristics of the seed market and for providing more opportunities for farmer feedback regarding varietal performance.

Robert Tripp and Suresh Pal