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COVID-19 : Impact on Seed Sector and its Solutions

Problem arose in seed sector during the pandemic of COVID-19 & it’s solution

Seed is the basic vital unit in agriculture which is also the basis for food security, and  conservation of biodiversity. It is also a means for the delivery of new technologies and support services to rural areas. Seed system is one of the most vital components of agricultural system that serves as an important element in strategies for agricultural development and poverty reduction. COVID-19 pandemic has almost affected every system worldwide. Seed system is not devoid of its effect too. Because of the prevalence of Corona disease all over world, not leaving Nepal has led to closing up of every seed sector due to minimal facilities of movement of food. Producing seed and it’s accessibility to farmers in each and every nook of the country is not a one day job. Based on the lifecycle of each crops, the stage up to production of seed within plant is a long process but in addition to that various post harvest operation including to storage takes multiple steps. Implications of no-transportation has resulted in return of workers to their hometown, causing less number of workers ranging from field workers to technicians in seed production.

This has undertaken almost no production of seeds from private sectors. Also the import of seeds from international donors has not been possible due to restrictions on international flight. And the option that we are left with during such scenario is the use of source seed produced by farmers in neighborhoods without any authentic knowledge on seeds quality; as in current situation, our country is not proficient enough to provide with adequate choices of preferred varieties, hybrid seeds to the diverse group of clients in different agro-ecological domains, socio-economic setting. Pilling up of quality seeds by immature seed companies for immoral activities has also been seen to cause unregulated seed distribution without following seed policy of Nepal, distorting production ability of potential sectors region.

Due to the lack of logistic support and technical manpower in NARC, there is no consistency in the production of breeding seeds. The obstruction of vehicles results in inadequate market support causing weak input relationship. And one of the main problem to be considered during this scarcity is volatile market, where price fluctuation was common during the beginning of COVID-19 cases in Nepal.

Production of quality seed and for making it reach it out for every farmers in every part of Nepal efficiently, it needs to be supported by many institution and government too. As there are many projects going on in Nepal for agriculture like Food Security and Agricultural Projects Analysis Service(ESAP), so going on for ‘New Normal’ can be even easier with collaboration with such projects. There are companies like National Seed Company Limited(NSCL), Nepal Agriculture Research Council(NARC), etc. Ministry of Agricultural Development has developed a National Seed vision 2013-2025, co-operation of such companies, formulations of even more policies and even more innovations and investments is one of the most reliable part supporting for sustainable seed sector even after this pandemic. Also, the problem in seed sector arose due to Corona disease can be solved

1) By following of national legislation on seed sector by informal system.

2) By encouraging farmers for seed replacement with quality seeds.

3) By launching of seedNL in Nepal.

4) By increasing association with international companies.

5) By enhancing the genetic factors of seed through breeding.

6) By providing seeds on kit-box as relief package.

7) By increasing seed storing facilities.

8) By introducing sanitary measures in agriculture.

9) By using microclimatic condition in integration with workshops training.

About the Author:
Sandhya Paudel is the Agriculture student, Currently studying B.Sc. Ag at Paklihawa Campus, Institute of Agriculture and Animal science.

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