This page features a compilation and selection of Japanese seed industry news briefs, summaries and leads, with an emphasis on events that impact or affect provinces, regions, counties, cities and locales in Nepal.
More than 400 million vegetable crops destroyed by hail in Dhankuta: 5 Apr: Already suffering from a prolonged drought this year, farmers in Dhankuta were further devastated by hail that ruined crops and vegetables. Potatoes, cabbage, peas, and other crops were completely destroyed totally 1,210 hectares in the region resulting in an estimated loss of over USD 3.3 million. Read original story in Nepali here
Kiwi farming in Gandaki Province: Feb 22: Farmers in Baglung District have begun forming collectives in order to grow kiwi fruit. By joining together the farmers will be able to better market the fruit and integrate the cultivable land. A total of 300 kiwi saplings were planted with financial assistance from Galkot Municipality, and the group plans to plant a total of 1,500 saplings in this first phase with an eye on commercial production. Read original story in Nepali here
Commercial strawberry cultivation successful in Lumbini: 7 Mar: This year commercial strawberry farming in the Palpa District of Lumbini has been met with success. Demand for the crop is high, partly due to novelty, and is selling at around USD 4 - 5 per kilogram. Read original story in Nepali here
Farmers in Karnali Province turning to collective apple farming: 12 Mar: Farmers groups in Jajarkot District have begun cultivating apples as the traditional farming of wheat and barley has not produced good yields. A total of 5,500 apple saplings have been planted in an area of 19 hectares that had previously been used to cultivate wheat and barley. Apple farming is attractive for locals in the district due to the low investment required and ease of growing in collective orchards. Read original story in Nepali here
Cardamom farmers in Gandaki Province employing mechanization: Mar 13: The use of new tools and equipment among cardamom farmers in Baglung District has been increasing. Government subsidies on agricultural tools and equipment have encouraged farmers to move towards mechanization to help save time and reduce the need for manpower. There are 250 farmers in the district engaged in cardamom cultivation on around 10 hectares, producing 15 tons this year, selling for USD 5 per kilogram. Read original story in Nepali here
Enhancing Private Sector Engagement in Nepal Seed Industry
A seed policy workshop was jointly organized by the Seed Entrepreneurs’ Association of Nepal (SEAN) and the Nepal Seed and Fertilizer Project (NSAF) on February 22nd at the Soaltee Crowne Plaza Hotel in Kathmandu. The aim of the meeting was to enhance the private sector’s engagement in the Nepal Seed Industry, and focused on facilitating a formal market for imported vegetable seeds, and granting of R&D licenses for private seed companies.
Attending the meeting were a total of 55 participants representing SEAN, Seed Quality Control Centre (SQCC), National Seed Board (NSB), the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development (MoALD), Nepal Agricultural Research Council (NARC), and CIMMYT/USAID.
The meeting was chaired by Dr. Yogendra Kumar Karkee, Secretary of the MoALD, and introduced by Mr. Durga P Adhikari, a member of SEAN’s executive committee. Also giving opening remarks were Ms. Lynee Schneider from USAID, and Dr. Dyutiman Choudhary and Dr. Abdurahman Beshir from NSAF.
Former Chairman of SEAN, Mr. Mitra R Dawadi, presented a short background of SEAN and covered topics that included the seed supply situation, major issues arising from lack of adherence to the variety registration guideline (2013), the need for granting hybrid seed production licenses to the private sector, and the facilitation of a formal market for imported vegetable seed.
Similarly, Mr. Ramesh Humagain, Senior Seed Development Officer, SQCC discussed key issues surrounding the vegetable seed import market in Nepal. He argued that the dramatic increase in informal seed imports in recent years was due to the complex registration process, and offered two potential solutions: a) amending seed regulations and b) short-term provisions until the approval of an amended Seeds Act.
An open discussion was held with most participants in agreement as to the relevance of the policy issues raised, and that the government’s and private sector’s presentations were along similar lines, and that NSB/MoALD should take immediate action to address the issues raised.
At the end of the meeting, the secretary announced the formation of a five-member committee to draft a protocol aiming to simplify the registration of imported vegetable varieties. The committee will consist of members from SQCC, SEAN, NARC and NSAF. This committee will present the draft protocol in the forthcoming NSB meeting planned to be held in the next two weeks. It was also agreed that the NSB would form another committee to work on fast tracking variety registration and granting of hybrid seed production licenses to the private sector by amending seed regulations.
Nepal votes to remove cannabis from UN drug schedule: Nepal’s ambassador to Austria, Prakash Kumar Suvedi, who is the Member State representative on the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND), on 2 December voted to remove cannabis from the CND’s Schedule IV. A bill to legalize cannabis in Nepal, which would overturn a 1976 law that formally criminalized the cultivation, sale and consumption of cannabis, is being considered by Parliament.