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An effective seed supply system is necessary to make good quality seed available to farmers at the right time and at low cost. Given the critical role played by improved varieties in increasing production of grain and quantity and quality of stover for livestock fodder in conventional cropping systems, agriculture decision-makers have the challenge of developing an integrated and cost- effective seed system that is capable of generating and delivering improved seed varieties to farmers. Such a system would be an important step toward ensuring seed security and enhancing livelihoods, particularly of dryland farmers. Issues related to seed multiplication and delivery systems in India are discussed in this publication. The book outlines the development of the seed industry in India and highlights the changes made to seed policies over the years. It records the experience from an attempt to improve the local seed systems in four dryland agricultural districts that are typically representative of the semi-arid areas of Andhra Pradesh state. Using specific seed delivery models, it presents ways of strengthening seed systems to address the needs and vulnerabilities of smallholder farmers including those associated with livestock and fodder security in these areas. This book is not an all-encompassing summary of the seed systems in Andhra Pradesh, nor does it try to provide magical solutions to constraints encountered by poor farmers. It does, however, attempt to illustrate alternative approaches to strengthen the seed systems by employing new approaches aswell as implementing tested approaches in new ways constituting innovation. Given the ever rapid changes taking place in the technological, socioeconomic and policy environments, understanding some of the processes and mechanisms involved in these changes as has been presented in this document will help in continuous development of an appropriate seed system and contribute to enhancing the livelihoods of poor farmers in the semi-arid areas of India.

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International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT)



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