Seed Sector in Nepal: An overview of opportunities & Challenges
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
Formal seed production and distribution in Nepal began in late fifties and sixties with the Introduction of various new varieties of rice. Seed production in those days was target Oriented and was mainly produced in government farms and stations and seeds were distributed thorough extension services. With the establishment of Agriculture Inputs Corporation (AIC) in 1974, it started to procure and market limited quantity of seeds to farmers. Organized seed Production and distribution started in early seventies when Food and Agriculture Organization of The United Nations (FAO) established a high capacity seed drying, processing and bagging Plant at Hetauda for the AIC. During eighties, FAO, German Technical Cooperation (GTZ) and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) further helped to establish seed processing and storage facilities at five AIC regional centers in Terai and 20 mini seed houses in the mid hills5. Until 1990, public sector continued to play a key role in production and supply of agricultural seeds in Nepal.
Challenges to Seed Sector In Nepal
The major barriers for development of seed sector are as follows:
- Inadequate varietal choice and limited number of breeding lines
- Inadequate production of source seeds
- Inadequate high quality seed production
- Low capacity for seed processing and storage
- Lack of proactive marketing mechanisms
- Poor availability of quality products
- Inappropriateness of varieties
- Lack of awareness
- Low quality seeds
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.
As quality seeds are backbone for agricultural production a well regulated and competent seed sector is of high necessity today. Various laws, bylaws and provisions have fostered this developing sector and it should be cared well to develop and nurtured to fulfill its important role for agriculture sector of country.