Strengthening multilateral cooperation to address a number of key challenges of the Asia-Pacific seed sector was the focus of APSA’s annual Seed Association meeting this week.
Attending the April 26-27 meeting in person at the Four Points Sheraton hotel in Bangkok were representatives from more than a dozen local and national seed trade associations, stakeholders' organizations and observers.
This year’s meeting, which also was attended by several participants online, was organized for the first time in April, moved forward and upgraded from its traditional “side-meeting” schedule during the Asian Seed Congress at the end of the year.
In his welcome remarks, APSA President Dr. Manish Patel explained that “due to the great importance of national and local seed associations in aligning national, regional and global seed trade policies and priorities, we decided to move this meeting forward as its own physical meeting,” he said.
Dr. Patel described seed associations as direct links to government, farmers and academia, and emphasized “open and transparent communications” as critical component, and purpose of the meeting.
Compared to its previous two-hour slot, the revised two-day agenda provided ample time for participants to provide comprehensive updates from their respective organizations and countries, while also engaging in progressive dialogue to address and air concerns on critical issues affecting seed trade and production.
Topics discussed spanned Intellectual Property Rights, Plant Variety Protection, farm-saved seeds, access and benefit sharing, UPOV accession, plant breeding, phytosanitary standards compliance, digital sequencing information, and general market trends and challenges.
The APSA Secretariat and several executive committee board members updated participants on the regional seed association’s organizational structure, operations, communications strategy, technical activities and plans.
This was matched with local- and national-level updates from the representatives of Indonesia’s ASBENINDO (seed trade association) and HORTINDO (horticulture crop seed association); Bangladesh Seed Association (BSA); Cambodia’s Ministry of Agriculture; China Seed Trade Association (CNSTA); the Federation of Seed Industries of India (FSII); the National Seed Association of Malaysia (NSAM); Thai Seed Trade Association (ThaSTA); Taiwan Seeds Trade Association, the Philippine Seed Industry Association (PSIA), Seed Association of Pakistan (SAP), Seed Entrepreneurs Association of Nepal (SEAN), and the Viet Nam Seed Trade Association (VSTA).
Also contributing to discussions were several timely presentations from the International Seed Federation, Euroseeds, Dutch Seed Association (Plantum) and the French Interprofessional Organization for Seeds and Plants (SEMAE) and CropLife Asia.
A full summary from the meeting and presentations is being prepared and will be made available to APSA members in May, and for the wider public in Asian Seed & Planting Material quarter two issue, published in June.