Mystery seed parcels: Center asks states, industries to be vigilant

NEW DELHI: The Centre has alerted states, research bodies and other relevant organizations to be vigilant of ‘mystery seed parcels’ entering India from unknown sources.

The agricultural ministry has issued a directive in this regard when it found thousands of suspicious seed parcels entering the country.

Many countries including the US, Canada, UK, Japan and other European countries have also recorded these mysterious seed parcels arrive at their shores.

In fact, the USFDA has termed these mysterious seed parcels as a form of ‘agricultural smuggling’. It has also said that these seed parcels may contain invasive species that could introduce pathogens or disease and become a threat to the environment, national security and agricultural ecosystem.

Federation of Seed Industry of India Director General Ram Kaundiya said, “Right now it is only an alert for a possible spread of plant diseases through seeds coming from unauthorized sources without orders. Seed terrorism is too big a word for it. There are limitations to what diseases a seed can carry. But nevertheless, it is a threat.”

These seeds could be of an invasive species which could compete or displace native species in the environment.

“People in the US have received such unsolicited packets and subsequently, the USDA issued an alert. We should not plant seeds that have to come to us unsolicited and destroy them immediately”, he added.

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