Seed packets, allegedly of Chinese origin has raised suspicion in India, prompting the authorities to raise alarm. The mystery seeds from China with a misleading description was received in India and other countries.
The packets coming at a time of a global pandemic has raised a bio-alarm. The National Seed Association of India has taken the matter and issued a warning stating the usage of seeds could hamper the fragile biodiversity of Odisha.
After a warning from the research experts and the Centre, the authorities in Odisha have warned the farmers against the usage of these seeds.
India shares its border with China, which could prompt for the easy smuggling of the seeds into the Indian Territory. Experts opined that the seeds could be a form of bacteria, virus or any other invasive species.
“It has come to the notice of Department of Agriculture, Cooperation & Farmers Welfare that threat of unsolicited/suspicious seed parcels with mislabeled packages from unknown sources was reported in many countries. Since the last few months, thousands of such suspicious seed shipments have been reported across the world,” read a memorandum issued by Dr Dilip Kr Srivastava, Deputy Commissioner, Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare.
However, the Chinese officials have claimed that the description on the seeds packets seemed to be ‘forged’ and has ‘errors.’
Earlier, similar ‘mystery seeds’ in unsolicited packages were received across the US, foreign media had reported. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) had taken up the investigation and the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection. “USDA is aware that people across the country have received suspicious, unsolicited packages of seed that appear to be coming from China. USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is working closely with the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection, other federal agencies, and State departments of agriculture to investigate the situation,” read their statement.