Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Quarterly Journal of International Agriculture

Quarterly Journal of International Agriculture No. 3/07

Seed systems and millet crops in marginal environments of India: industry and policy perspectives

Latha Nagarajan
IFPRI, Washington, DC, USA

Philip Pardey
University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN, USA, and

Melinda Smale
IFPRI, Washington, DC, USA


Changes in India’s seed regulations during 1990s favored the growth of privately- as compared to publicly-funded sectors. Most advances have been made in the major millet crops, sorghum and pearl millet, as compared to finger millet and other minor millets, which in many ways dependent on local markets for seed purposes. In this study, we have analyzed the evolving interactions between formal seed systems related to the delivery of modern varieties and informal systems for maintaining traditional seeds in two of the semi-arid regions of India. The changes in the seed sector and its impact on millet crops improvement and adoption have been discussed in the context of current challenges facing the sector. It is evident that in these marginal environments, crop and variety use decisions, and the crop biodiversity levels take place within the context of local seed markets and a national seed industry.

Keywords: millet diversity, seed systems, local markets, drylands, formal seed sector, seed industry

JEL: Q12, Q13, Q16, Q18, Q19, Q57

Vol. 46 (2007), No. 3: 263-288