ROLE OF QUALITY SEED IN FOOD SELF SUFFICIENCY AND FOOD SECURITY IN NEPAL
Seed is said to be quality If it is scientifically produced and is distinctly superior in term of physical, genetic, physiological and pathological parameters. Seed lot should meet certification standard to be of good quality. Quality seed is basic input in crop production. It has high genetic potential. It is carrier of new technology (Green revolution). It gives high quality produce, fetches high market price. It improves productivity of crop by amount of 25%. It improves or reduce the amount of seed requirement by about 25%. Less chance of weed insect of disease and decrease the cost of production.
Being the basic vital unit in agriculture, Seed is also the basis of food security. Importance of quality seed emphasize that it is the basic tool for a secure food supply. Quality stand because of its high genetic and physiological quantity. So, with the institutional and technological enhancements in seed sector quality seed can be used as solution for food security with condition of food sufficiency too. Production of seed by following proper seed cycle, unifying seed system with complete knowledge and technological training on post-harvest operations up to marketing, utilization of maximum seed policy, seed schemes, both national and international need to be done in order to be self-reliable, sustainable, standard in line with sustaining food security and enhancing productivity. For the seed to be quality seed, main thing that matters is its germination and moisture content of seed lot. For that certified seed must be used which are considered highly pure. Certified seed are of mainly four types: Nucleus seed, Foundation seed(I &II) and Certified seed(I&II). If such seeds are available to farmers then it can be advantageous as it can help in uniform plant population and maturity. Quality seed also have organoleptic character which means compatible traits as per preference of consumer for diet with high nutritive value.
Thus the food security and seed quality are closely linked as insecurity in one sphere leads to insecurity in the other. Many poor farmers obtain most of their seed from local production or local market channels so food insecurity arising from poor harvesting or market failure could also decrease seed quality. Another factor such as drought, price spikes in local market, both affect similar way. This problem can be solved by prioritizing quality seed through government and organizations working in the field of quality seed production. Only when determinants or characteristics of quality seed is achieved it can directly increase the production per unit area in the field which decrease food insecurity in some extent. When there is secure access to food it can bring lots of advantages such as economic growth of people, trade opportunities, improved health, etc. Access to nutritious food which is a result of best seed quality along with best quality of seed knowledge and understanding of plant nutrients and management techniques should be followed along with better agricultural technology can produce wide ranging positive impacts.