How to Start a Certified Seed Production Business

Do you want to start a certified seed production business? Production and selling certified seed is a highly lucrative business. However, you can access the optimum profitability if you grow the seeds on your own land.

Generally, certified seed production business includes several different steps. These are procuring good quality foundation seed, multiplication and seed processing. In a previous article, we have discussed different classes of seeds in detail.

Actually, the seed is a basic agricultural input. Also, it is an embryo, embedded in the food storage tissue. Seed is also defined as a matured ovule. Basically, it consists of an embryonic plant with storage of food and surrounded by a protective seed coat.

Nowadays, the seed is one of the biggest industry in the agricultural inputs segment. Broadly,  it involves various institutions and organizations. The list includes Government institutions, Public sector organizations, Research and academic laboratories and Institutions and Private Sector. Apart from the Government sector, nearly, 150 large private seed companies nationwide are involved in seed production. Some of the active and major Govt. agencies are:

  • Ministry of Agriculture and the Department of Seed Certification
  • Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR)
  • State Agricultural Universities (SAU)
  • National Seeds Corporation (NSC)
  • State Farm Corporation of India (SFCI)
  • 15 State Seed Corporations (SSC)
  • 22 State Seed Certification Centers
  • 104 notified Seed Testing Laboratories

Quality Control in Certified Seed Production

Basically, the seeds that have good germination capacity and vigor are the best quality seeds. In addition, good quality seeds come without insect damage and infestation by any microbes like bacteria and fungi. Also, the quality seeds come with a physical purity of 96-98%. They are uniform in size and shape without any damage.

Seeds with high moisture content will lose its germination vigor and viability soon. Hence,
it is necessary to maintain the correct moisture content of the seeds in order to ensure the good germination capacity and viability.

Germination capacity of a seed lot refers to the capacity of the seeds in that lot to germinate normally and produce all parts of a healthy seedling and grow. The necessary parts of the seedling include well developed primary roots, a young pair of leaves and one or two cotyledons.

Certified Seed Production Business – Basic Steps

Business Plan

Actually, certified seed production is a serious business. And it involves several steps from production to selling. And a small mistake in the entire process can lead you to a complete loss. So, you must think properly and put efforts in crafting the business plan.

First of all, check how much quantity of certified seed you want to produce. And then calculate the land requirement. If you have your own land then it is well, otherwise, you can opt for contract farming also. In addition to that, craft the financial planning. You financial cost analysis must include the costs related to procuring inputs, labor, and other expenses. Also, calculate an expected ROI.

Select the Land

You must select a suitable land for seed production for that particular crop. Generally, you need a medium to deep and well-drained light soils. Strictly avoid sandy soils or waterlogged soils. Actually, this type of the soil affects crop growth and thereby reduce the seed yields.

Ensure, that the land is comparatively free from soil-borne diseases, insect pests, and noxious weed seeds. Finally, check the irrigation facility and isolation requirement.

Space Isolation

This is one of the basic criteria you need to fulfill in this business. Basically, space isolation is the minimum distance you must keep between the seed plot and neighboring plot of the same crop. Actually, it prevents natural cross-pollination and physical contamination.

When you grow the seed in isolation, it ensures that no cross-pollination takes place. Broadly, you can isolate the seed plot in two ways. One is time isolation and another is space isolation. For different seed crops, there are specific isolation distances. And you need to maintain prescribed isolation distance on all sides of the seed crop

Seed Plot Registration

When you offer the seed plot for certification, you will need to register the said plot for certification with District Seed Certification Officer. And for this, you have to submit an application along with agreement bond on stamp paper of Rs.100/ duly notarised or registered with Taluka magistrate.

Procuring Foundation Seeds

The next step in procuring the good quality seed. Actually, you need to obtain an appropriate and proper class of the seed from the approved source according to stages of seed multiplication.

In case of foundation seed, you need to use the breeder seed with yellow or buff colored tag for sowing while for certified seed production, you need certified foundation seed with a white tag. You must ensure that the seed bags are intact with lead seals not tampered or removed. Properly preserve the empty bags and the tags till you get the certification of your seeds.

Cultivation Practice & Plant Protection

These are very much common aspects that you need to take care. You need to provide proper care and management to get a good stand of seed crop and thereby higher seed yields. Some of the most important considerations are proper land preparation, use of optimum seed rate with timely sowing, manuring, watering etc. Additionally, you need to control pests and diseases.

Field Inspection

As per provisions of seed certification, seed certification agencies inspect the seed plots offered for certifications. And as the seed producer you need to follow the instructions given by the field inspector. Actually, you need to maintain prescribed genetic and physical purity of seed plot. Otherwise, carelessness on part of the seed producer may result in rejection of seed plot from certification.

Harvesting & Processing

You must harvest the seed at the proper stage of maturity and only after permission is granted by the field inspector. After primary threshing and drying, you need to seal the bag of raw seeds with the permission of certification agency.

Finally, the seeds need proper processing. Generally, seed lot accepted for processing is processed at the seed draws three samples. One sample is for seed testing laboratory for testing purpose, one sample kept at his disposal and one sample for concerned seed producer. After getting the positive report from the seed testing laboratory, you need to pack the processed and treated seed. Additionally, you need to attach the appropriate tags issued by seed certification officer.

Seed Label for Certified Seed Production

  • Label No.
  • Crop
  • Variety
  • Lot number
  • Inspected date, month and year
  • Expiry date, month and year
  • Germination percentage (minimum)
  • Physical purity (minimum)
  • Genetic purity (minimum)
  • Net weight
  • Organic certification logo
  • Organic seed producer label.
  • Name and address of the producer who offers for sale sells or suppliers.

Basically, in the developing countries, certified seed production is a lucrative business opportunity for the entrepreneurs. However, the business demands proper planning, dedication and willingness to work long hour.