Govt targets to limit seed imports to 8% of total transaction
KATHMANDU, Oct 18: In a bid to reduce import of seeds, the government has finalized Seeds Vision that, among others, aims to reduce share of imported open-pollinated seeds in total seeds transaction to 8 percent by existing 19 percent by 2025 by establishing seed development infrastructure and encouraging private sector in seed production and processing.
The Ministry of Agriculture Development (MoAD) has endorsed the Seed Vision proposed by National Seed Board - a government authority that looks after all issues related to seeds including certification of new seed varieties.
The Vision envisages plans to develop new seeds varieties, boost seed production, raise seed replacement rate, substitute seed imports, promote locally produced seeds and develop infrastructure for production and processing of seeds within the country.
“We have come up with the Seed Vision to develop new varieties of seeds beneficial to the farmers by utilizing germplasm -- inherited genetic feature -- of the plant varieties in a bid to strengthen seed production by involving private sector in seeds production and processing,” Prabhakar Pathak, spokesperson of the MoAD, told Republica.
Pathak also said the Vision incorporates the plan to develop necessary infrastructures for seed production and processing.
Given the high dependence on imported seeds, the Vision has set a target of limiting the volume of imported seeds to 8 percent of the total seed transactions of open pollinated seeds by 2025 from existing 19 percent. It targets to raise contribution of locally produced seeds in total seeds transactions to 19 percent from existing 12 percent by 2025.
In a bid to boost seed production, the Vision has set a plan to establish four big seed production companies under public private partnership (PPP) model.
The government has also set a plan to establish a buffer stock of 10,000 tons of seeds by 2025 so as to manage seed supplies during emergency situation. Though National Seed Company, the state owned seed producer, has been producing and supplying seeds on behalf of the government, the provision of buffer stock is still not in place so far.
To strengthen seed production and processing capacity, the Vision also envisages a program to establish additional 20 seed labs for enhancing the capacity of the government to produce 50,000 tons of seeds per year by 2025. At present there are 13 seed labs in the country capable of producing 11,000 tons per year.
Keeping in view the low seed replacement rate in crops, the government has also set a plan to increase the replacement rate of openly pollinated seeds for crops. As per the scientists´ recommendation, replacement rate for cross pollinated and self pollinated seeds should be around 25 percent and 33 percent, respectively. However, hybrid seeds should be completely replaced in each crop.
Nepal imports more than 200 types of hybrid seeds from 30 international seed production companies through 13 domestic importers.
As per the latest data, replacement rate of seeds in paddy, maize and wheat stands around 9 percent, 7 percent and 9 percent, respectively. However, replacement rate in vegetables stands at an impressive 66 percent.
The Vision also targeted to raise seed replacement rate on cereal crops and vegetables to 25 percent and 90 percent respectively by 2025.