APSA April 2020 Newsletter

Quality Seed | Quality Life

Welcome to April 2020 APSA newsletter! This month, we have a lot of updates from APSA and around Asia and the Pacific, especially regarding the effects of Covid-19. Just as the United Nation's last-but-not-least Sustainable Development Goal (SDG # 17)  emphasizes partnerships, which is the essence of the FAO's #handinhand initiative, APSA will continue to embrace this approach to effectively and responsibly address the current situation. Indeed  Sustainable Agriculture is central to our mission, and a core value of APSA,  so we will continue to promote and engage in public private partnerships, and other important cross-sector collaboration with like minded organizations. The following key initiatives underline this: (No time to read this, download the podcast ) 

Newsletter Contents

Seed industry News Round-up

Seed Quote of the Month

News from the APSA Secretariat 

  • APSA signed an MoU with Kasetsart University earlier this month (news here). Now it should be clear to everyone how important food security and sustainable agriculture is for the region and world -- especially the importance of R&D and close cooperation and collaboration to bridge the needs of academia and the private sector. This is the idea behind our previous MoU signed with NSTDA late last year (news here), and this latest MoU with KU comes at a time that R&D is more important than ever before. And more importantly is the opportunity to gauge graduate and undergraduate students to understand the importance of Agriculture. 
  • APSA SIG Veg&Orn, WorldVeg collaborated on a survey to APSA seed company members
    • 68 respondents from at least 48 companies responded 
    • In addition, it was also sent to NSAs, got responses from JASTA, CSA, CNSTA, Hong Kong
    • Takeaway findings of impact:

 The graph shows that a wide range of problems have already occurred in many aspects of the seed trade with key bottlenecks including difficulties finding freight solutions (reported by 54% of respondents), reductions in new export orders (42% of respondents), and difficulties distributing seed in the destination countries (42%). Many respondents also reported problems getting export and import permits, phytosanitary certificates, and customs clearance.

    • The survey asked respondents to share solutions and measures. Many companies are implementing ‘social distancing’, allowing some of their staff to work from home, while still maintaining vital field and onsite operations through staggered staff shifts.
    • For full details, reports and summary, trends and solutions for the way forward, read the summary report, please visit APSA website, or click the link in newsletter
  • Croplife Asia Collaboration
    1. APSA joined with CropLife Asia to compose Letter to ASEAN secretariat last month
    2. CLA and APSA Directors collaborated on an editorial that was  published on Channel News Asia
  • ISF Collaboration
    • Recently participated in online interview with other RSAs and NSA reps, including Ozman from ASF, Rose from ISF Phyto committee
  • Decision about the Asian Seed Congress 
    • Situation in China is getting back to normal
    • However, international seed industry greatly effected, and many countries are still under lockdown with economic uncertainties affecting international business  travel this year
    • Therefore, the Executive Committee have postponed to announce decision for  confirm or postpone Congress.  Please email APSA Executive Directors for questions, concerns. 
  • Other upcoming initiatives related to Covid mitigation
    1. We will make some slight modifications to the APSA and Worldveg covid survey to incorporate other aspects thanks to members' feedback. These include adding questions to gauge the impact on R&D activities, for example. This second round of the survey is planned to be sent out to APSA members and key stakeholders in May, so stand by. 
    2. We are planning an online webinar/panel discussion in May with CNSTA, and … any details we can provide 

Technical Affairs

This coming month we look forward to organizing the Annual Workshop for the APSA-World Vegetable Center Vegetable Breeding Consortium, which will be held on Tuesday, May 12, 2020 via video conference platform. See Events section below for more details about the registration process, which is exclusive for consortium members.  The online workshop will cover vegetable breeding updates on WorldVeg tomato breeding and Progress on Insect Resistance, WorldVeg Pepper Breeding and WorldVeg Cucurbit Breeding. There will also be presentations on ideas of special project funding namely Multi-location Testing of Vegetable Varieties of APSA-WorldVeg Consortium Members in Benin and Tanzania, Heat Stress Tolerance of Tomato & Peppers and Collecting and Safeguarding Cucurbit Diversity in South and Southeast Asia.  You can find more info on the program on this page, but don’t forget, only consortium members can join this event so if your company has not registered, don't hesitate to sign up. .  Companies joining the consortium this year will receive a discount of 600 USD from the usual consortium membership fee, i.e. 2300 USD for small/start-up company, 6300  USD for large company due to COVID-19 travel restrictions that have made the face-to-face aspect of the annual workshop impractical.  And now for some updates from APSA's Special Interest Groups (SIGs) and Standing Committees (SCs) 

  • SC Seed Technology is eager to identify interesting topics for online Seed technology technical sessions as well as to look for new members to join the group. The Secretariat is contacting potential speakers and panelists and hope to update you on this in the coming months
  • SC IPR&Biodiversity members are finalizing the Review of Plant Variety Protection Laws in the Asia and Pacific Region and the Secretariat plans to share the executive summary with APSA members in the near future. The members are also curious about the status and trends of  PVP and variety registration applications/registrations  during the COVID-19 pandemic, and are following up with National Seed Associations about this. 
  • SC International Trade & Quarantine members are now working on the preparation for the 6th Phytosanitary Expert Consultation planned later this  year as well as activities for International Year of Plant Health activities. Members have been updated on progress with  Indian Seed Bill draft ammendments, WTO notifications on import conditions and other notifications for countries in the Asia and Pacific region, including those in Thailand, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. APSA members can find more information of the SC/SIG meeting minutes on APSA members section of the website. 
  • SIG Vegetables & Ornamentals: Apart from COVID-19 impact survey mentioned above, SIG V&O have deliberated on a number of interesting topics for future technical sessions. There is still hope and possibility to arrange a Study Tour this September, fingers crossed. The group has also discussed the possibility of revising the vegetable seed production best practices guide, specifically by adding guidance for quality management system for clean seed production during #IYPH 2020. 
  • In SIG Field Crops, it is unfortunate that the Chair is now vacant, but we are moving forward. Our EC has agreed to designate Cover crops as a subgroup under SIG Field Crops, and we have also surveyed potential members to form a Working Group of Integrated Field Crops seed Companies, based on the success of our WIC for Vegetable seed companies. The survey was sent to integrated seed companies focusing on field corn, rice, cotton and sorghum. We plan to close the survey in mid May to have a meeting with SIG Field Crops members to form the group. 
  • Speaking of WIC, we just had our first successful online midterm meeting. We have made great progress in our technical agenda  
    • These include positive developments in the creation of a Seed Innovation and Protection Initiative or SIPI which is also working closely with APSA’s SC for IPR and Biodiversity in addition to the WIC.
    • All 20 WIC companies completely signed the WIC Code of Conduct and propose a working group to develop and set priority of Training the Trainers program.
    • We have made progress with identifying key members in our new Working Group for Disease Nomenclature, which is focusing on tropical crops, and will work closely with WorldVeg and the Collaboration for Plant Pathogen Strain Identification (CPPSI).
      • The group is also working on the draft of APSA Plant Breeding Innovation or PBI Position Paper which plans to propose to EC soon.
      • Besides, WIC also received an update on Indian Seed bill, ISF Systems approach initiative and phytosanitary update and had a discussion on future plans.
      • The action sheet from the meeting is completed and has been sent out to WIC members.
      • More details about the meeting in Events section below



Events Update

Our Online WIC Meeting was held on April 3, 2020

  • Despite the challenges of organizing such a meeting with several dozen participants joining from around the world, the meeting went smoothly, we had a lot of good feedback from participants, There were a total of 20 participants joining the call from all the world. We didn’t experience lag, and our platform enabled orderly flow of the agenda, with everything sticking to our timeline. 

 World Veg Workshop Now, we look forward to another demanding online meeting in a few weeks, which we anticipate needing to accommodate dozens of participants on May 12, 2020 with online one-on-one chats scheduled May 13 & 14:

  • Online Video Conference on May 12 
    • Limit for maximum 7 log in accounts per one company
    • Only paid consortium companies will be able to join the online workshop. Kindly share with us the bank payment slip at the soonest
    • Once payment is made, APSA will send you a link for online registration once the company has given participants email info.
    • Click on the link to register and please make sure to fill out the required information.
    • You will receive an online workshop meeting link via email that you filled out after registration is completed. Please check your junk inbox if you have not receive the email.
    • A link to download handouts will be shared to registered emails ONLY a week prior to the workshop date.
    • In case the payment is settled after May 11 th , WorldVeg will share your company the recorded video and handouts at a later date.
  • Online one-on-one chat with WorldVeg breeders on May 13 & 14
    • Only paid consortium companies will be able to participate in the one-on-one chat with WorldVeg breeders.
    • Once payment is made, you will be sent a schedule to see real-time available time slots. 
    • To reserve your slot preference, please contact Ms Teresa at teresa.liang@worldveg.org
  • Should you need further assistance, please contact APSA Technical Coordination Manager at kuna@apsaseed.org

Expert Consultation for Phytosanitary Measures in Asia-Pacific 

  • As many countries have plans to open up, as the covid-19 curb looks to be flattening, we are hopeful that we can still organize our Expert Consultation for Phytosanitary Measures in person in Bangkok this August. For this we plan to invite NPPOs from key countries in the region, who will come together to address the latest phytosanitary issues and challenges related to seed trade. After all it is still the International Year of Plant health, and good plant health starts with good seed health. Either way stand by for updates.

Other seed industry events updates

  • ISF will be holding their technical sessions for the World Seed Congress online in June. Great initiative that the show must go on. 
  • Various Chinese domestic seed businesses have started to return to normal The CNSTA took part in resuming the Shouguang Vegetable Expo to stimulate domestic seed trade, for example. See China news below for more details. 
  • We have confirmation from the Foundation of Agriculture Technology, or FACT Korea with the Korean Seed Association, that they still plan to organize the 4th Korean Seed Expo in October. This is a positive sign, and we will be working with FACT to promote the event in the coming months, and provide up to date information. 
  • Also still confirmed is Euroseeds is following through with its European Seed Congress in Malta this October. See here for details.  

Finally, for all the latest updates, news and announcements, be sure to check our website, and our social media, which I am also now actively managing with our communications team during this time. By the way we just launched an Instagram page so if you have Instagram be sure to follow us, by clicking the icons at the end of this newsletter.   

Regional-Global News

APSA - FAO Seed Legislation Study published: The APSA - FAO study "Status of Seed Legislation and Policies in the Asia-Pacific Region" reviewing seed legislation in the Asia-Pacific and offering recommendations for future development is now available as an eBook for several platforms. Download it from ....  ISF response to Covid-19 crisis: The ISF has issued a number of responses over the last month outlining the organization's position on matters related to seed and the world virus shutdown, including ....  World Economic Forum Says Covid-19 Shutdown Could Worsen Hunger Crisis: The WEF notes that Covid-19 measures closing schools means many children miss their only hot meal of the day; that quarantine regulations disrupt supply chains; and that the crisis could plunge half a billion people into poverty while ....  World Food Program Director warns of ‘Biblical’ Famine: The United Nations World Food Program Director David Beasley warned the UN Security Council of "a hunger pandemic" owing to the Covid-19 crisis, with "multiple famines of biblical proportions" coming soon ...  FAO Recommendations for food industry workers: In "COVID-19 and the Risk to Food Supply Chains: How to Respond?", the FAO advises food industry employers on measures to consider in order to keep the supply chain alive: keep all workers healthy and safe; maintain movement of food along the food chain; and have ....  Advanta Seeds Covid-19 crisis video: Advanta Seeds has released a video on Twitter, with the accompanying tweet: "#Farmers worldwide are feeling the effects of #Covid19. This pandemic only reinforces our commitment..." which is also linked and updated on ....  Channel News Asia commentary by Dr May and CLA Director Dr Siang Hee Tan: APSA Executive Director Dr Kanokwan Chodchoey and CropLife Asia Executive Director Dr Siang Hee Tan wrote in Channel News Asia recently about challenges arising from the Covid-19 crisis. Their recommendations ....  CLA Webinar with APO on supply chain effects: In the latest Asian Productivity Organization's Productivity Talk Webinar (Thursday, 23 April 2020), CLA Executive Director Dr Siang Hee Tan discusses COVID-19 and the agriculture industry, spotlighting the crisis-spawned labor shortages, supply, environmental and pest pressures to be overcome ....  Shipping Down 11%, fruit Rots in Myanmar and Kenya, Thai Bodybuilders Sell Durian and Malaysian fruit demand skyrockets: Global shipping is off 11% (among the majors up to 17%) for the first half of 2020, while container shipping availability disappears -- both attributed to the Covid-19 crisis by maritime intelligence company eeSea. Meanwhile .... 

Read these and more stories from the around the region, world


ABARES optimistic about food security despite covid concerns: The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) has conducted a comprehensive report, entitled, “Analysis of Australia’s food security and the COVID-19 pandemic” in which it emphasizes that Australia is among the most food secure nations in the world, citing figures ... Gardening, seed supply shops report record demand: The Guardian reports that many seed supply shops and gardening centers across Australia have been selling out of vegetable seeds during the coronavirus pandemic, citing spurred demand fueled by widely-circulating concerns, fears for food security, even though supplies are assured to be sufficient. Fruit, vegetable supply under threat as travellers stranded: As a result of Covid-19 travel restrictions forcing hotels, hostels and caravan parks to close, many work-and-travel holiday makers and seasonal workers have been unable to find accommodations, reports ABC Australia. The temporary workers are crucial to ensuring fruit and vegetable farmers ... South Australia formally lifts GM Moratorium: ABC Australia reports that the 16-year-old moratorium on GM-crops in South Australia has formally been lifted. Citing negotiations between opposition and the Primary Industries Minister, the article references an estimate that canola farmers have lost out on some $33 million since 2004... Positive outlook as rains spur seeding in WA: Bountiful Australian summer rain resulting in good subsoil moisture across much of Western Australia has lubricated the prospects and optimism for grain crop seeding this season. Farm Weekly on April 27 reported that many farmers have begun planting....  Human waste biosolids boost food crop productivity by 65%: A research project being carried out by researchers at Federation University is utilizing human waste to boost productivity of grain crops in Victoria. The Grain Research Development Corporation-funded research project involves the application to soil biosolids processed from state sewage ....  Fall armyworm reaches Queensland 'salad bowl’ ABC Australia reports that farmers in Queensland’s Wide Bay region are bracing for the infestation of the fall armyworm, following reports of detection in the Burdekin, the Northern Territory and in Western Australia, after initially being detected in Queensland in February at Bamaga, at the tip of Cape York and in the Torres Strait. .... 

Read these and more stories from Australia 


MAFF announces 2020 vegetable, meat security projections, measures: The Phnom Penh Post, Khmer edition, on April 16, reported on plans by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) to secure food supply domestically and from neighboring countries. Addressing Covid-19 food-security, the article notes there is currently ....  Imported seed potatoes to boost tuber expansion in Mondulkiri: Cambodia’s Ministry of Agriculture looks to procure $3.5 million’s worth of seed potato to expand cultivation of the tuber crop in Mondulkiri province, reports Khmer Times. The article, citing the Cambodian Minister of Agriculture, notes the plans are part of a project with South Korea, and follow successful trials carried out since last year ....  Q1 2020 rice exports jump by 35%: CRF: A report by the Cambodian Rice Federation notes that rice exports in the first quarter of 2020 jumped by 35% year-on-year to 230,948 tonnes, earning a total of $161 million. The report, in English and Khmer, breaks down the exports by type of rice ....  How to assure optimal paddy seed purity: In response to farmers’ concerns of low purity and quality issues, the Cambodian Rice Federation has provided a number of guidelines and best practices, reports Sabay.com news in Khmer language. The guidelines include recommendations to buy new “foundation” or “registered” seeds ....  Pursat gov distributes vegetable seeds, rice: The governor of Pursat province in western Cambodia was photographed, publicized in a public charitable effort to distribute vegetable seeds and rice to some two hundred families in several villages .... 

Read these and more stories from Cambodia


Spring rice planted in Wuhan with optimism for achieving 'normal'output: CJN News reports on the successful transplanting early in April of rice seedlings on a 20,000 mu field in the urban Huangpi district of Wuhan . According to the article, some 45,000 kilograms of seeds and more than 300 tons of fertilizer had been delivered on March 7 ....  CSA holds policy exchange meeting online: On April 23, 2020, the Plant Variety Protection Professional Committee of the China Seed Association and the International Cooperation Branch jointly held the " China Seed Association seed Industry Policy Exchange meeting of some countries " with some 15,000 participants joining. Gansu flower seed exports double in Q1, Customs efforts praised: Reports in Chinese language news  highlight strong flower seed exports from Gansu in the first quarter of 2020. Citing figures from Lanzhou and Jiuquan Customs of the customs, the articles note that a total of 2,932 ton of seeds, valued at 220 million yuan, were exported from the province, representing a year on year increase of 103% (volume) and 55.8% (value) ....  Shoguang holds 21st Veg expo online: The 21st China (Shouguang) International Vegetable Science and Technology Expo and the 2020 China (Shouguang) International Vegetable Seed Industry Expo held its opening on April 20 in Shouguang City, Shandong Province. Shouguang, which has been nicknamed the "Chinese hometown of vegetables" is an important source of vegetables for the entire country. Due to the Covid-19 situation, organizers of this year's expo decided to hold the event online, enabling participants to participate from home using 5g-powered internet broadcasting and virtual reality technologies ...  Dazhu County expands spring grain planting: Advanced preparation and close attention detail are cited as factors in the successful spring season ploughing and planting  in Dazhu county  in Sichuan Province, where planting this year reportedly expanded by 29,000 mu, with a total planting area of ​​1.297 million mu and total output touted to be 527,200 tons ....  Gangcha county spring planting commences:  Spring cropping commenced in Gangca County of Qinghai province in April. The counting cropping plan includes an “improved seed breeding” project, experimental demonstrations and trials looking to increase the application of organic fertilizers,  integrated pest management and trialing of excellent varieties ....  Longping High-tech raise 1.7 billion CNY for seed processing upgrades: Leading hybrid rice seed company, Lonping High-tech has proposed non-public offering in order to raise 1.7 billion yuan for new seed processing production lines and various other projects and upgrades ....  Dongfeng County rice soaking in prep for mid-May planting:  Some 6,000 kg of rice seeds have been soaked for germination, to be planted on 128 ha of rice fields in Dongfeng County of southwestern Jilin province; the goal is to transplant by mid-May ....  Louxing system of rewards, incentives for spring planting prep:  The Louxing District Agricultural and Rural Bureau in Loudi, Hunan province, coordinated the relevant departments and enterprises to procure seeds, seedlings, fertilizers, pesticides and other agricultural inputs ....  Taonan City Spring planting: A comprehensive update of planting prep in Taonan City:   bottom line is the county has prepared 42 tons of seeds, 600,000 tons of chemical fertilizer, four tons of pesticides, in addition to 220,000 cubic meters of farm fertilizer ....  Yongchun county spring planting: In Yongchun county in western Quanzhou city of southern Fujian province, preparation for spring cultivation was successful. Efforts secured a total of 100,000 kilograms of rice seeds, 11,700 tons of fertilizers and 3,800 tons of pesticides. Rice has been planted, with a total 41,200 kilograms of rice seeds sown ....  Amaranth lucrative in Luzhou City: A kilogram of amaranth currently sells on the local market for 8 yuan, with one acre of amaranth able to yield some farmers 5,000 yuan in two months.. This article in Chinese suggests methods to improve yields, including sowing the seeds densely, and the average amount of seeds used per acre suggested to be 4 kg.  Tibet barley projections: According to the Agriculture and Rural Office of the Autonomous Region, planting of barley in the region is planned for 2.15 million mu this year, an increase of 0.89 million mu from 2019, and is expected to yield 800,000 tons ....  Shanghai customs detects dwarf mosaic virus in maize seed shipment: Sina.com reports on the detection by Shanghai Customs inspection team at Pudong International Airport Customs of maize dwarf mosaic virus in a 3.92 tonne shipment of corn seeds, reportedly originating in Chile. The virus is said to be one of the causes of maize dwarf mosaic disease ....  Mengla officials crack down on illegal seeds: Inspectors at the seed management station of Mengla County in  Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture carried out special inspections of the crop seed market throughout the county. Inspectors ultimately seized 120 kg of inferior hybrid rice seeds, as well as 3,557 bags of illegal vegetable seeds .... 

Read these and more stories from China


Ag operations, workers permitted during Phase 2 of lockdown: The Government of India issued a new set of guidelines for the second phase of India’s lockdown, effective until at least May 3. The government will reportedly continue to permit farming operations and farm workers to be in the field, as well as permitting “agencies engaged in procurement of agri-products, including MSP [Minimum Support Price] operations ….  FSII Members pledge INR90 million toward Covid-19 relief: Members of the Federation of Seed Industry of India (FSII) have made substantial contributions to the Indian government and agricultural sector to support covid-19 relief measures, according to an April 23 Statement ....  Ag Minister, ICAR reinforces digital platforms during lockdown: The Hitavada has reported on initiatives by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), under direction from Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Narendra Singh Tomar to continue to ensure Agriculture institutions are maximizing the use of online communication tools, apps and courses to help farmers overcome problems arising during the continued nation-wide lockdown ....  Anticipated wheat setbacks in Madhya Pradesh: There are anticipated delays and increased expenses for the winter wheat harvest this year, extending to shortages of, and increased rental expenses of harvesters. Usually, the state depends on additional harvesters from Punjab, which are not as available due to lockdown conditions ....  Jute seeds stuck at Bangladeshi border: As many as 50 trucks carrying nearly 1,000 tonnes of jute seeds were stuck at  Petrapol Land Port in Bangoan in North 24 Parganas district, despite the clear directive from the Central government permitting movement of seeds and other planting materials: April 24 report ....  Bihar Rabi harvest almost complete thanks to abundant labor: By the last week of April, it was estimated that 90% of Rabi crops had been harvested in Bihar, with credit being given to a surplus of laborers ....  High hopes for normal monsoon forecast, planting prospects:  The Indian Meteorological Department has predicted a 40% chance for a normal monsoon rain this year, anticipated to commence on schedule between June and September for much of the country ....  Gujarat summer sowing up by 35%: Gujarat farmers as of April 13 had sown crops for the upcoming kharif season across 891,000 hectares, which represents a 35% increase over the same period in the previous year ....  Odisha crops inundated, can’t reach the market and without storage options: Excess rain in many districts across Odisha are compounding hardships farmers are facing related to the coronavirus lockdown. At this time, farmers are concluding harvest of various rabi crops, including summer paddy, pulses and groundnuts, but rains have hampered their efforts, with effects reported in 19 districts ... And though farmers are sitting on surplus stocks following bumper harvests in March .....  Telangana papaya farmers at loss from lack of buyers due to covid restrictions:  Papaya farmers in Telangana’s Khammam district are sitting on a surplus of fruit that they cannot sell due to the absence of the usual buyers from Delhi. Buyers of the fruit, who use to travel from key market locales such as Delhi, have not shown up ..... 

Read these and more stories from India


Dharmasraya paddy a surplus thanks to good seeds: The agriculture office of the Dharmasraya Regency has assured there will be sufficient rice supply in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. According to Langgam Indonesia, 8 thousand hectares of paddy fields had been sown in the regency through to April 2020 ....  Purworejo farmers distributed certified superior rice, corn and soya seeds: Initiatives to address food security during the Covid-19 pandemic are being carried out in the Purworejo Regency in the form of staple grain seed support. According to KRJOGJA.com, officials have distributed rice seeds for the second planting season of 2020 ....  ‘Bio-soy’ varieties to fortify food security: ‘Biosoy’ is a highlight of Indonesia’s  latest efforts to attain food self-sufficiency, with the Agriculture Research and Development Agency procuring soybean seeds for distribution in five target provinces: Central Java, Yagyakarta, East Java, West Nusa Tenggara and South Sulawesi ....  Ministry of Ag released ‘superior’ cotton seeds: Republika Indonesia reports that the Indonesian Ministry of Agriculture has released several new high-yielding and high-fibre “superior” varieties of cotton, citing the need and push to strengthen the local industry which has been plagued by low productivity ....  Maize harvest in South Sulawesi satisfactory: Sulselinfo.com reports that the governor of South Sulawesi has confirmed the satisfaction of successful trials of two hybrid maize varieties in Soppeng Regency and Bantaeng Regency ....  RGL tangerines in high demand: Tangerines from Bermani Ulu Raya District, in the Rejang Lebong Regency of  Bengkulu are enjoying strong demand and high prices for farmers. According to Republika Indonesia, usually farmgate prices for the citrus fruit would be falling, but since March the area has been the center of “superior tangerine production” especially for the the Rimau Gerga Lebong (RGL) variety, which ....  Paddy cultivation bolstered in Riau Islands: The Anambas Islands regency government is working with provincial officials of the Riau Islands to support rice cultivation preparations in March and April ahead of transplanting, planned for this June ....  Disease, pest- resistant paddy varieties released:  In early 2020, the Agricultural Research and Development Agency, Indonesian Center for Rice Research (BBPadi) has released new “INPARI 48 BlAS” varieties, which were bred by crossing varieties resistant to brown plant hopper with varieties shown to be resistant to leaf blast disease .... 

Read these stories and more from Indonesia 


Proposed seed law amendments seek stronger breeder rights protection: A bill to amend Japan’s Seeds and Seedling Law was submitted to the Diet in April. The proposed amendments, which had been approved by Cabinet in March, aim to establish measures to curb the outflow of certain varieties from Japan while providing more IP protection for breeders and innovators ....  Nagano prefecture seed security regulation in force: New prefecture-level regulations concerning seeds of main crops and traditional vegetables are now in effect. As reported earlier this year, several prefectures started to draft and implement such regulations to clarify prefecture government roles and obligations in seed supply and thus address seed security concerns raised following the abolition in 2018 of the country’s Main Seed Crops law ....  Sakata to launch new mizuna, pak choy varieties: Leading Japanese seed company, Sakata, has circulated details in local media about some of its upcoming planned leafy-green vegetable releases. These include a new early-maturing, fusarium-resistant, winter cultivar of mizuna (Brassica rapa var. nipposinica). ....  Sakata to expand into lettuce market with acquisition of California company: Sakata Seed America, a subsidiary of Sakata Seeds has acquired "Vanguard Seed", a lettuce seed company based in Salinas, California. The news, announced in both Japanese and English language media, affirms that Vanguard’s genetic resources .... 

Read these stories and more from Japan


Corn, sorghum sowing update in Jeonnam: The president of the Jeonnam Provincial Agricultural Research Service has sought to commence planting of key summer crops such as corn and sorghum. The most suitable time for planting corn is in early and mid-April, and delays in sowing risk a shortened growing season, which would ultimately have adverse affects on yields ....  Evidence of 1,600 year old seed trade: The National Gyeongju Cultural Heritage Research Institute (translation) is analyzing milenea-old artifacts unearthed from excavations of the Wolseong Moat in Gyeongju carried out between 2016 and 2019. Among them are what is believed to be dozens of seed specimens dated to the 5th century ....  Seoul City community garden sown: A community garden project in Seoul has allocated 6,940 sections in 15 farms, mostly around ‘paldang’ lake, as well as in Goyang City and Gwangmyeong City. The sections were designated to urban gardeners between February 3 and March 20, and gardeners on April 11 came to plant vegetable seeds and seedlings ....  Urban garden seeds delivered via drive-by: To minimize risk associated with face-to-face interactions, chicory and lettuce seeds were distributed to urban garden farmers via a drive-by distribution system. The distribution of seeds, carried out in early April, is part of ....  Gyeonggi seed bank update: Update on a “Native Seed Bank” opened last November in Donggori, Godeok-myeon, Pyeongtaek-si of Gyeonggi Province. Quoting an interview with the bank’s director, the article notes that there are some 800 native seed specimens being conserved after being collected from various areas ....  Chungnam Cooperative supplying farmers with subsidized pepper seedlings: A cooperative in Chungnam Province is facilitating the increasing incomes of pepper growers through the supply of pepper seedlings, with cultivation and harvesting information and guidance support. The Cooperative is reportedly raising 150,000 pepper seedlings ....  Americans, Korean sow seeds on urban gardening day: To mark Urban Agriculture Day on April 11, a tradition which has been observed in Korea since 2015, the the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, joined with reps from the US Embassy to promote the joy of urban farming by making food and sharing food with agricultural products .... 

Read these stories and more from Korea


Cotton support price, relaxed seed germination standards proposed: The Business Recorder Pakistan reports that a minimum support price for this year’s cotton crop has been pitched at 5,000 rupees per maund (37.2 kilograms) ....  Punjab cotton growers switching to sugarcane: Dawn reports on the trend of cotton farmers in Pakistan’s cotton belt, Punjab, switching over to sugarcane, citing the recent bad season for cotton marred by pest attacks and temperature fluctuations ....  Sewage-irrigated vegetable crops destroyed: The Punjab Food Authority (PFA) has destroyed thousands of kilograms of vegetables crops on a plot of land in Raheem Yar Khan, alleging that the crops had been irrigated with sewage water. The Urdu Point reports that the crops destroyed included pumpkin and apple gourd ...  Food crisis looms as locust swarms spread: News reports suggest that Pakistan's agriculture sector continues to struggle from locust infestations, citing increasing concerns of a severe food security crisis ....  Farmers to be compensated for hailstorm damage: Urdu Point on April 28 cites the Speaker of the National Assembly Asad Qaiser saying that farmers in Swabi and different areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, whose crops were severely damaged by a recent severe hailstorm, would be compensated. According to another article by Pakistan Today, hail-damaged crops included tobacco, wheat and various varieties of vegetables ....  Wheat rust susceptible varieties suggested to be delisted, substituted: Express Tribune Pakistan reports that scientists at the Ayub Agricultural Research Institute recommended delisting nine low yielding or wheat-rust disease susceptible varieties of wheat. The  varieties include ....  50pc rice seed subsidies in Lower Dir District: Urdu Point reports that the Agriculture Department in the Lower Dir District of the Malakand Division of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. According to the report, a total of 15,000 kg of rice seed has been provided by the province to the district for ....  Punjab wheat drive, productivity and seed distribution: The Punjab Chief Minister has leading efforts to bolster the wheat sector, having inaugurated a wheat harvest campaign at a village in Rojhan tehsi, where 4.5 million metric tonnes of wheat would be procured in an ongoing drive in which farmers would be paid 1,400 rupees per maund. Punjab reportedly is anticipating to yield ... 

Read these stories and more from Pakistan


PSIA advocates for unhindered seed movements, avoiding food shortages: The Philippine Seed Industry Association (PSIA) in April has advocated for cooperation from Local Government Units (LGUs) to ensure the unhindered transport of agriculture commodities in response to reports of difficulties in transporting agricultural goods domestictally. Specifically, agriculture supplies, cargo and personnel had reportedly been blocked by some Local Government Units (LGU) at checkpoints in ...  In related news, the PSIA has informed APSA that it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Department of Agriculture and four cities in Metro Manila for the implementation and promotion of urban agriculture programs, which PSIA members will set up community vegetable gardens and conduct hands-on training. Stay tuned for more updates on this initiative.  Farmers in Luzon struggling from lockdown: Al Jazeera video news reports on some of the dire challenges farmers and other residents are facing in Luzon, particularly in the landlocked province of Neava Ecija, which include the closure of warehouses, reduced access to markets, rotting produce and mounting debts ...  Bulacan farmers find buyers of produce on Facebook marketplace: Rappler reports on the trend of farmers reaching customers via online channels amidst covid-19 movement restrictions. According to report, a farmers group based in Bulacan had sold nearly 4 tons of vegetables to online customers, who were mostly based in Quezon City ...  Palay, maize production trend estimates in Q1: Output of palay, or unhusked rice, and maize is expected to have declined in the first quarter of 2020, compared to the same period last year, according to preliminary estimates from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA). In a report published to their website ....  Banana exports expected to plunge by 40%: Exports of bananas from the Philippines -- the largest exporter in Asia, and second largest exporter in the world behind only Equador -- are anticipated to drop by 40% this year down to 2.5 million tonnes, from 4 million tonnes last year. Citing projections from .... 

Read these stories and more from the Philippines


Grocery delivery trucks get new life during lockdown: Converted pickup trucks converted into mobile fresh markets are a common site around Thai neighborhoods, and even more so since the country was put under lockdown. ....  Ensuring sufficient domestic food supply: Thailand’s government has taken a number of initiatives to ensure food security during the month of April and beyond. Among them include shoring up production and distribution mechanisms, which has increasingly emphasized online channels and efficient home-delivery service. According to figures citing the Ministry of Agriculture ....  Thailand Commerce Minister withdraws proposal to join CPTPP: Jurin Laksanawisit, Thailand Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister has reportedly withdrawn a proposal to the cabinet for Thailand to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) ....  District officials distribute free vegetable seeds in Angthong: In response to concerns of limited market supply and widespread fear among villagers to go to markets, local government officials in Visetchaicharn district of Angthong Province distributed over 1,000 packets of vegetable seeds of leading Thai companies, Chia Tai and East-West Seed ....  Private companies donate 10,500 seed packets in Chiang Mai: An initiative of Mae Jo United club, along with Bor O. K. Maled Pun and Food Seeds company donating 10,500 packets of vegetable seeds, valued at THB105,000, to the Nong Harn sub-district municipality in Sun Sai district in Chiang Mai as part of covid-19 relief efforts.... 

Read these stories and more from Thailand


Amendment to Seed Authorization and Supervision Regulation: Amendments have been made to Turkey’s regulation concerning Authorization and Supervision in the Seed Sector, which lays down the principles for the authorization of legal entities who grow and sell seeds in Turkey. All the new amendments are listed in .... The rise of domestic seed sector: Highlighting the push in Turkey to boost domestic seed production, an editorial highlights how a Turkish chemical company refurbished an old textile factory in Orhangazi, re purposing it for seed production and/or processing, noting the new operations will involve local seed production on an area of 60 hectares ... and project to establish new testing and breeding laboratories, and training of 15,000 seed producers over the course of two years ...  Turktob chairman rallies domestic seed sector to prevail in ‘covid war’: Chairman of the Board of Directors of Turkey Seed Union (TÜRKTOB) and the Economic Cooperation Organization Seed Association (ECOSA) Savaş Akcan has advocated to strengthen and reinforce the Turkish seed industry. Featured in interviews with Turkish news outlets in April ... 

Read these stories and more from Turkey


Access to inputs, fertilizers, crop protection products initially a challenge: Many agricultural supply stores at the beginning of April were forced to close due to restrictions announced via a March 31 notice from  the Department of Industry and Trade, which did not exempt such shops.  By April 10, however, the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development issued a proposal to ease ....  Fresh veg cooperatives city cooperation ensure stable food supply in Hanoi: Successful approach of the Chuc Son Fresh Vegetable Cooperative, which has been cooperating with businesses and other cooperatives to ensure stable supply of produce to consumers in Hanoi. According to the article, the cooperative has nearly 40 members cultivating crops on more than ...  Cooperatives go online during lockdown: This article highlights how vegetable and farm cooperatives are mobilizing and adapting to supply direct to consumers via online channels and apartment points of sale ...  Free rice ATMs supply food to the poor: ATM-like automated rice dispensing machines have been installed throughout Vietnam to supply people with rice rations during a time when residents are under strict lockdown. Such machines were initially set up in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, before being introduced in ....  Melon production trending in an Giang: The growing trend of ‘hi-tech’ cultivation of melon in An Giang province, inspired by techniques and methods from the US and Japan, melons are now grown throughout An Giang province, including in ....  Watermelons still selling in Phu Ninh: At this time, farmers are beginning to harvest watermelons in the district of Phú Ninh of Quảng Nam Province. This year, watermelon was planted on some 300 hectares in the district, including in ....  Ups and downs of cucurbits growing in Thach Ha: Baohatinh Vietnamese news reports on challenges and opportunities of growing various cucurbit crops in Thạch Hà, a rural district in Hà Tĩnh Province, including zucchini and pumpkin ...  Ag officials guide farmers to protect spring rice in Kien Xuong: The district crop planting station in Kien Xuong, Thai Binh province is leading a campaign to guide farmers in taking pest and disease preventative measures for various varieties of spring rice planted on roughly 11,000 hectares. The measures ....  Farmers switching from rice to maize: Considering the hardships of drought impacting rice cultivation in Binh Dinh province, many upland farmers in places with poor irrigation and rainfall trends are switching from rice to maize ...  Exporters oppose proposal to suspend rice exports: There's been some opposition to a draft proposal regarding the export management plan to continue exporting sticky rice, parboiled rice, organic rice and fragrant rice, and temporarily stop exporting low-grade rice ...  Extra crop cycle conversion constraints in Binh Dinh: Despite 10 years of efforts to implement three rice crops per year in Binh Dinh, many farmers still prefer the two-crop cycle due to a number of challenges with the former and advantages of the latter ....  Varieties yielding up to 9 tonnes/ha of rice in Binh Dinh: Trials of two new rice varieties -- VNR20 and VNR10 -- of the Central Seed Joint Stock Company are showing much promise in Binh Dinh ....  Flower crop integration improves rice productivity: By strategically planting certain types of flowers near paddy crops, researchers at the An Phong Experimental Farm for Production of Varieties in the Thanh Binh District of Dong Thap Province say that yields can be improved while expenses can be reduced. ....  Rains blamed for sesame root rot: Seseme farmers inf Ha Linh commune in Huong Khe of Ha Tinh province have reported crop losses from intensive rain, which has been blamed for the perishing of sesame plants due to root rot .... 

Read these stories and more from Vietnam

"The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings."

- Masanobu Fukuoka

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