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.
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