Nepal Seed Industry

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.

The news covers trends and events regarding seed regulation, testing, legislation, phytosanitary issues, intellectual property rights, biotechnology (genomics, gene-editing) plant breeding, agronomy and cropping, with original sources linked.

This page will be updated throughout the year, with most recent briefs listed first.

2024 News


Conserving Nepal’s Agrobiodiversity: January 18: Nepal faces challenges from climate change, urbanization, and modern farming practices, leading to significant loss of its native agricultural biodiversity (ABD). Recognizing the crucial role of ABD in sustaining ecosystem services, the country has declared a National Agrobiodiversity Day to promote conservation and sustainable utilization. The government emphasizes strategic approaches like red zoning of agricultural land and establishing agro-gene sanctuaries. Additionally, integrating gene banks into educational institutions and formulating a National Agrobiodiversity Strategy are key steps for preserving the nation’s agricultural biodiversity to ensure a sustainable future. More details here

Chitwan's Mustard Farming Resurgence: January 11: Mustard farming is experiencing a revival in Chitwan District. This follows a decline due to a 2008 real estate boom causing loss of farmland to urbanization as well as a shift to vegetable farming. Mustard cultivation once covered 22,996 hectares in 1998-99 but dropped to 11,130 hectares in 2008-09. The increase in mustard farming, now covering 21,850 hectares, is attributed to its lower labor requirements, reduced damage from wildlife, and rising prices due to the conflict in Ukraine. More details here

Record Paddy Harvest Expected Despite El Niño: January 9: Nepal is set to achieve a record paddy output of 5.72 million tonnes this fiscal year, a potential boost for the country's economy amidst high inflation. Initially threatened by a forecasted drought, the season ultimately saw favorable rainfall, contributing to the historic yield. This surge is significant as the country's economy relies heavily on agriculture, with nearly two-thirds of its farmlands being rain-fed. Improved paddy production is anticipated to help curb inflation and reduce rice imports, particularly from India, which has faced export restrictions due to its own agricultural challenges. More details here


2023 News


A Holistic Farming Approach in Kathmandu: 25 Nov: A foundation in Kathmandu has created a sustainable and organic farming oasis. Following the principles of biodynamic farming, a holistic approach to agriculture that emphasizes soil purification and the use of organic compost, various vegetables are grown organically, and natural fertilizers are produced using local resources. The foundation also travels to rural areas to educate farmers in this technique that not only enhances soil quality and food security, but also supports the local community through employment. Source

Maize Farmers Envision Profitable Future: 9 Nov: Maize farmers in midwestern Nepal are planning to expand their cropping due to strengthened connections with grain buyers, facilitated by the Nepal Seed and Fertilizer Project. During a visit to five model maize marketing sites, 30 agricultural authorities from federal, provincial, and local levels were impressed by the improved coordination and capacity development among market actors. The authorities have proposed additional support in irrigation, machinery, grain grading, and crop insurance as part of a USAID-funded project. Source

Nepal and South Korea Sign Cooperation MoU: 2 Nov: Nepal and South Korea have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to enhance cooperation in the agricultural sector. The agreement, signed by Nepal's Minister for Agriculture and Livestock Development Beduram Bhusal and South Korean Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Chung Hwang-keun, focuses on agricultural science and technology, livestock production, and agricultural processing. The MoU will facilitate joint studies, research and development, infrastructure development, and capacity building in the agriculture and livestock sectors. It also enables collaboration between the Nepal Agricultural Research Council and the Korea Agricultural Research Council, including the development of agricultural infrastructures, training centers, and markets. Source

Nepal's Booming Ginger Exports: 16 Oct: Nepal has been successfully exporting ginger worth approximately Rs 1.25 billion (USD 9.4 million) annually, meeting not only domestic demand but also gaining international recognition. The country exported about 2,614,178 kilograms of ginger valued at Rs 330 million (USD 2.5 million) in the first two months of the current fiscal year alone. The exports primarily go to countries like Bangladesh, India, the Netherlands, Japan, the UAE, Germany, and Qatar. Agricultural experts attribute this success to the high quality of Nepali ginger, and the Department of Agriculture sees potential for further growth through improved processing and grading. Source


Weak Monsoon Hits Nepal's Agriculture Sector: 23 Sep: Nepal has experienced below-average rainfall during the current monsoon season, with only 84.9% of the season's average rainfall recorded since June. This has severely impacted the cultivation of crops, especially in districts that rely heavily on rainfall due to inadequate irrigation infrastructure. Source

Nepal's Farmers Face Severe Drought Impacting Cardamom and Rice Crops: 08 Sep: Farmers in Nepal are grappling with an intense drought that has severely affected crops, including large cardamom and rice. In Palpa, a farmer who had been successfully growing cardamom for 12 years saw a 90% loss in his crop due to the drought. The dry spell has lasted for six months, and experts attribute the warmer, drier weather to an earlier-than-usual El Niño. The drought has also led to the emergence of pests and diseases, further complicating the situation for farmers. Source

Nepal Introduces Site-Specific Fertilizer Recommendations for Better Crop Productivity: July 25: Nepal's Minister of Agriculture and Livestock Development announced the launch of site-specific fertilizer recommendations for maize, wheat, and rice. Developed jointly with the Nepal Agricultural Research Council and National Soil Science Research Center, the updated recommendations consider soil diversity, biophysical conditions, and agronomic management. They replace the previous "one size fits all" approach that had been in use for 46 years. The site-specific recommendations take into account indigenous nutrient supply, target yields, and crop nutrient removal, aiming to increase crop productivity, income, and fertilizer efficiency. The approach is part of efforts to promote sustainable soil fertility management and long-term resilience. Source.


Nepal's Rice Imports Continue Despite Self-Sufficiency Goals: June 30: Nepal has imported rice and paddy worth over NPR 33.6 billion in the current fiscal year, despite government plans to achieve food self-sufficiency by boosting agricultural production. Limited access to advanced rice seeds, irrigation facilities, fertilizers, and mechanization have hindered rice production and productivity. Former officials and experts emphasize the need for timely provision of necessary resources to farmers and modernization of agriculture to increase rice output. The country's dependency on rice imports has grown, even as the government promotes slogans of agricultural self-sufficiency. Efforts are underway to develop high-yield rice varieties and expand irrigation facilities to boost production and reduce reliance on imports. Source.



Underutilized species project gets funding: May 12: The Standing Committee on the Funding Strategy and Resource Mobilization of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture recently approved the project titled "Enhancing conservation and utilization of plant genetic resources in Nepal for food and nutrition security under unpredictable environmental conditions." The project focuses on amaranths, buckwheat, millets, lentil, naked barley, faba bean (focusing on neglected and underutilized species) and other crops. The National Agriculture Genetic Resources Center (Genebank) will administer the project. The project has been allocated funding of $247,500 to be used over a period of 48 months. Source.


Local tomato, vegetable producers struggle to compete with imports: February 20: According to some local growers,  the price of locally-produced tomatoes, cauliflowers, carrots and other vegetables has been decreasing due to high competition from imported vegetables. The average wholesale price of tomatoes grown by farmers In Chitwan was reportedly only Rs 7 per kg, though able to fetch Rs 22 per kg in Kathmandu, and sold in retail shops for as much Rs 60. According to the Nepal Fruits and Vegetable Traders Federation. The trend is common during the period between November and January, and results from a large quantity of vegetables that are imported from India during this period. Source 

2022 News


CIMMYT support helps Nepal farmer increase market independence: August 11: Market support from the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) as part of its Nepal Seed and Fertilizer (NSAF) project, has enabled one maize farmer to bolster annual turnover from $195,000 to $626,000 in eight years. Source

Community-based seed banks gaining momentum: July 15: A campaign to popularize native food crop varieties such as rice, cucumbers, and maize is gaining momentum with the establishment of community-run seed banks across Nepal. The Centre for Crop Development and Agro Bio-diversity Conservation estimates that there are currently 53 seed banks. The seed banks allow members to use the seeds to grow crops and save them for future use, and also to participate in regular seed exchange programs with other seed banks that not only help farmers obtain seeds from other farmers but also conserve native species, and breed diversity that will help withstand the impact of climate change. Read original story here and here

Seed Act Amendment Passes: July 10: A bill to amend the Seeds Act, 1988, was recently passed by both houses of Parliament. The amendment requires compensation for farmers who suffer losses due to defective seeds or fertilizers, and also losses from employing techniques and processes that have been recommended to the farmers. The revised Act also prohibits the sale or distribution of seed varieties that are not on the government's official list except for research purposes and also requires importers or exporters to conduct a risk analysis before importing or exporting any variety of seeds to avoid adverse impacts. Source

Fertilizer shortage to be allayed by neighboring supplies: June 29: Nepali farmers struggling to cope with a shortage of fertilizers during the peak harvest season, will be relieved by Indian supplies assured through a government to government agreement. Agriculture reportedly contributes to about 25 per cent of the national economy, while employing about 60 per cent of the workforce. Thanks to a memorandum of understanding recently signed between Nepal and India to supply 150,000 tons of chemical fertilizer through a government-to-government , a shipment of 50,000 tonnes of urea and 30,000 tonnes of DAP was to be shipped by mid-July. According to estimates by the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development, Nepal’s annual demand for fertilizer stands at around 600,000 tons, and domestic supplies have been insufficient up to this point.. Source.

Paddy planting delayed by erratic weather: June 29: Though June 29 was marked as National Paddy Planting Day this year, it was determined by many farmers as not the optimal time to plant the first saplings, citing erratic monsoon and irregular rain. Source

2021 News

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. 

December 2020

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.