Opportunities and challenges of seed sector in Nepal: A Review
Seed sector in Nepal has high comparative advantage, and the Government of Nepal has also emphasized to develop and strengthen seed supply system in Nepal. However, it has been facing different types of limitations and risks at different levels of the vegetable seeds system in Nepal. Therefore, this paper analyzes overall existing vegetable seeds production environment, its marketing practice and perception of seed producers and users in Nepal.
The formal seed sector can be defined as a framework of institutions linked together by their involvement in or influence on the multiplication, processing and distribution of improved seed .There are various participants in seed sector development which includes various structures of government agencies and non-government agencies. Here we will discussing challenges and opportunities in seed sector of Nepal.
Seed sector in Nepal:
Seed fertilizer, and irrigation are the major inputs that drive improvements in agricultural productivity. High-quality seed, alone, contributes a 15–20 percent increase in output levels. For major cereals, the key constraints facing Nepalese farmers are lack of access to high-quality seed and rates of seed replacement of less than 10 percent. Recent policy shifts toward private-sector involvement in the production of certified improved seed in Nepal are encouraging. Nearly 20 private seed companies are involved in producing and marketing seed, contributing around 27 percent of the country’s seed production. The public sector’s share of seed production is relatively high for wheat (for example, through the National Seed Company), whereas the community sector’s shares are higher for rice and maize. The private sector’s shares are moderate for wheat, rice, and maize, but are very high for vegetable crops.
Through the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), the Nepal branch of the United States Agency for International Development is supporting the Government of Nepal in its efforts to improve the policy and regulatory environment for seed production by addressing sales regulations and supporting the enactment of farmer-and agribusiness-friendly input policies and procedures. The main objectives of the research were (1) to critically examine constraints on attracting private investment in the commercial production and marketing of seed; (2) to recommend critical policy, regulatory, and capacity building measures both short term (less than two years) and medium term (three to five years); and (3) to provide detailed strategic inputs to increase private-sector involvement in the seed sector and to identify areas in need of institutional and programmatic support for the Ministry of Agricultural Development, the Seed Quality Control Centre, and the Nepal Seed Board.
Challenges to seed sector in Nepal:
- The COVID-19 pandemic has the potential to seriously affect the production, certification, distribution and cost of seeds, which play a fundamental role in developing resilient agricultural sectors and food systems in least developed countries.
- Availability and cost of transport due to the reduced number of commercial flights; fewer personnel available for production, transportation and documentation processes; and a contraction in the market for plants and seeds is creating problems in terms of the production of seed for international trade, as well as access to high quality seed of modern varieties for domestic agriculture.
- Communication, collaboration and harmonisation of measures among governments is critical, and the classification of the agriculture sector as “essential” is important to ensure the continued movement of seed.
- Due to the open border system in Nepal many denotified and diseased seeds are imported in Nepal which doesn’t give productive yield.
- Indigenous method of seed production and storage.
- Inadequate varietal choice and limited number of breeding lines.
- Lack of awareness among people
- Negligence of responsible body or organisation
- Poor availability of quality products.
- Climate change and lack of adaption to particular climatic region
- Demand and supply chain disruptions.
Opportunities of seed sector in Nepal:
- In varietal development and maintenance breeding: use of modern breeding techniques, standardization of breeding practices, coordinated support for decentralized variety development, expanded varietal choice and faster breeding cycle are some opportunities. In seed multiplication: use of varied agro-ecological conditions, increasing competitiveness of seed entrepreneurs, use of trained human resources and infrastructure (road, communications, banks, etc), integration of formal and informal seed system, integration of different seed production initiatives to avoid duplication and private delivery of public seeds are some of the areas of opportunities.
- In marketing, opportunities exist in enhancing marketing capacities of private sectors, harmonization of export import regulations, use of high quality packaging materials and supply of sufficient quantity of good quality seeds. From seed consumers‟ perspectives, seed promotion campaign, improving demand forecasting, monitoring seed use, and mechanism for feedback are some of the opportunities.
- Harmonize the local seed industry with the varietal research and seed production of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation and Asian and Pacific Seed Association.
- Strengthen and expand Nepal’s existing seed industry:
- Develop regional competitiveness.
- Simplify the process for registering new varieties.
- Provide incentives for Nepals private sector to engage in seed research and hybrid breeding.
- Strengthen the capacity of national seed research institute to develop new cost reducing varieties.
- Develop program for skill training, farm visits, and learning opportunities for staff from seed companies.
- Attract direct foreign investment and global collaboration:
- Attract foreign direct investment for the local seed industry, as well as local and global investment
- Promote collaboration and joint ventures in seed enterprises.
As quality seeds are backbone for agricultural production a well regulated and competent seed sector is of high necessity today. Production of quality seed not only improve the seed sector of Nepal, it also increases the yield of crops enough to tackle the ongoing food hunger and food insecurity prevailing in Nepal.