Newsletter: February 2021

Quality Seed | Quality Life

February 2021 Newsletter

Welcome to APSA’s February 2021 Newsletter! No time to read, download and listen to our podcast. Download here. 

Table of Contents 


First,  we would like to wish all throughout the Subcontinent a bountiful Rabi season harvest; successful spring ploughing and planting for those of you in Northern latitudes, and all the best of luck  for the coming winter cultivation season Down Under: May you and your partners sow only the best quality seeds, reaping the returns of what shall be a fertile year of the Ox in 2021. 

Next, we would like to remind all APSA members who have yet to renew their 2021 membership status to please do so by March 31; if you haven’t already, don’t hesitate as from April 1, those with outstanding dues will automatically become suspended in the system, temporarily halting access to all Membership benefits and services, including the Membership Directory, documents, files, past-event video, committee activities and registration of APSA member-only events.

Speaking of which, active APSA members are invited to view some of our recent online events as follows. Unless stated otherwise* APSA login required. 

  • APSA & Thastha Webinar on Fall Armyworm (February 2021) (watch here) *public*
  • Asian Solanaceous and Cucurbit Round Table I: Heat-stress tolerance (December 2020) (watch here)
  • Technical Session: SC Trade and Quarantine (November 2020) (watch here)
  • Technical Session: SC Seed Technology (November 2020) (watch here)
  • Technical Session: SC IPR & Biodiversity (November 2020) (watch here)
  • Technical Session: SIG Field Crops (November 2020) (watch here)
  • Technical Session: SIG Vegetables & Ornamentals (November 2020) (watch here)

We will upload all other past event videos to our members section as they come. Be sure to see Upcoming Events section below for more exciting events by APSA and our partners. 

Next, APSA would like to warmly welcome two new EC members: 

  1. Liam Gimon (Associate Member) 
  2. KyungHwan Koo (Seed Enterprise). 

Nominated to fill the previously vacant EC seat entitled to Nong Woo Bio, KyungHwan Koo is a Team Manager on the Overseas Marketing Team at the leading Korean seed firm, where he has more than 16 years’ international sales and marketing experience, in East Asia, Southeast Asia and Africa.




Liam started as the Managing Director for the Anti-Infringement Bureau for Intellectual Property Rights on Plant Material (AIB) in January, having previously worked as a Criminal Investigator for the US Federal government for over 27 years. 

Liam was nominated to the EC by outgoing AIB MD, Casper van Kempen, who retired in January. 





With that, we wish Casper a happy retirement, and would also like to thank him for five years of faithful and dedicated service to the APSA EC,  and as Co-chair on our Standing Committee for IPR & Biodiversity. He will be missed. 





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THANK YOU to our digital media sponsors

Technical Affairs

APSA’s Standing Committees (SCs) and Special Interest Groups (SIGs) have been quite active since the start of 2021. Following are some updates:

SC Seed Technology just held their second meeting on February 16, which discussed plans for a Seed Health webinar. More details in the Upcoming Events section below. Aside from this, the committee has proposed a new initiative under under the working concept o  “Certified Seed Technologist”, which is planned to be a ‘kick-off’ project under the scope of the APSA Seed Academy Program. Stay tuned for more details. 

SC IPR & Biodiversity recently organized a social media campaign for the advocacy on biodiversity and genetic resources. If you want to know more about plant genetic resources, genebanks and access and benefit sharing, check out the posts made earlier in February on APSA’s Facebook, linkedIn and Instagram pages. 

SC International Trade and Quarantine has been discussing, monitoring and tracking members and seed association updates concerning new phytosanitary regulations, especially on new import conditions and trade notifications announced by NPPOs in several countries, regions and territories in the past two months. In addition to the SPS Notification from Thailand concerning new import conditions for seeds of tomato, pepper, eggplant and corn, which we originally reported on last month (details found here) there are also new emergency measures and notices of import requirements/declarations concerning Tomato brown rugose fruit virus (ToBRFV), which were announced by NPPOs in Japan, Chinese Taipei and Turkey, respectively. For more details, see seed industry news section below. 

SIG Field Crop held their first meeting on February 2 to discuss 2021 activity planning, including for a University Connect Program, which will be jointly planned with our WIC group as part of the Train the Trainer program on seed production practice. The group also discussed an update on the Philippine local seed production policy on hybrid rice and corn. You may find more details on the member section of SC/SIG minutes of meetings. 

SIG Veg & Orn had their first meeting of 2021 in early February. The group decided on the upcoming events for the year 2021 and reviewed activities of the sub-groups as follows: 

  • The Working Group of Disease Resistance Terminology project, also called the DRT project, has signed a Letter of Agreement. This year the group had their first meeting in January and the next meeting is scheduled to be in March, whenimportant decisions are expected to be made for the continuation of the project.
  • The R&D Advisory Group has already met two times in 2021. The group is continuing to arrange the Asian Solanaceous and Cucurbits Roundtable, or ASCRT webinar series. The 2nd webinar of the series was on February 24. The topic of the webinar was “Evolution and Emergence of Viruses in the Asia Pacific Region” and the speakers were from Indonesia and Sri Lanka. Stand by for announcements on future webinars.

The Working Group of Integrated Vegetable Seed Companies or WIC Chair and Co-chair had a meeting with APSA Secretariat in February and discussed WIC activities for the year 2021. The WIC charter targets of 2020 were successfully accomplished and the report has been shared with APSA members. The Chair and Co-chair will have a meeting in March with the APSA Secretariat to discuss the WIC mid-term meeting and to further plan 2021 activities.

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Public Private Partnerships

First, an important update on APSA-NSTDA’s new collaboration/project for Screening of Tomato necrotic ringspot virus (TNRV) and Capsicum chlorosis virus (CaCV)-resistant sources in pepper germplasm.

The deadline to register for this project has been extended to March 15.  Apart from germplasm used in this study from universities in Thailand and New Mexico State University, USA, the project will also enjoy the benefit of germplasm from World Vegetable Center, so please don’t hesitate to register on APSA’s website: Click here.

Next, on the APSA-WorldVeg Breeding Consortium and its special projects: 

We’re continuing to process registrations for 2021 membership to the Consortium.

To recap, through the APSA-WorldVeg Vegetable Breeding Consortium, participating companies and WorldVeg researchers will have multiple opportunities to discuss and evaluate breeding approaches and discover new avenues to share data and progress, creating a win-win situation. The Consortium will initially focus on tomato, pepper (chili and sweet), cucurbits (bitter gourd and pumpkin/winter squash), and explore traditional vegetables (amaranth and okra) as determined by Consortium Companies’ interest.

More details, benefits and timeline for the Consortium can be found here

Aside from all the standard benefits of Consortium membership, this year we also have a number of special projects being carried out, which only Consortium members can take part in. Specifically, this year consortium members can apply for the following two projects:

1. Multilocation Testing of Vegetable Varieties of APSA-WorldVeg Consortium Members in Benin and Tanzania, as the call closed date of this project will be by end of February, we would like to remind you to register asap if you are interested in joining the project. (click here for project detail)

2. Heat Stress Tolerance of tomato & pepper, the call closed date for this project is by end of April. We would like to share with you that as many companies have shown interest in participating in this project and raised many questions, to help more companies better understand the project activities and trail requirements, we decided to hold HST Q&A webinar to address specific questions about the project. (click here for project details). The Heat Stress Tolerance Special Project Q&A webinar will be held on Tuesday the 9th of March 2021, from 10:30am to 12:30pm (BKK time), WorldVeg scientist will give a brief introduction of the project and answer the questions raised by members. This webinar is free for all APSA members to attend, but pre-registration is required. Click here for registration

Besides these two projects for 2021, we would also like to highlight another project planned to be offered next year, which is the Bitter Gourd Breeding Project, which will commence from January, 2022. Showcasing some of the germplasm for this project, an open field day is tentatively planned to be held on July 30th, 2021 in Kamphaeng Saen, Nakhon Pathom, just outside of Bangkok. (Click here for project details)

If you are interested to join the consortium and any of the special projects, don’t hesitate to contact Xiaofeng Li

And now some upcoming events: 

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First, we would like to thank everyone who attended the APSA’s events in February, including the Fall armyworm in Asia Webinar which was held on February 4th, Session 2 of the Asian Solanaceous and Cucurbits Roundtable (ASCRT) on the Evolution and Emergence of Viruses in Asia Pacific Region which was held on the 24th of February and finally the Q&A Webinar on Thailand import condition on tomato, pepper, eggplant and corn seed which was held on the 25th of February. We thank everyone who participated and hope you found the event to be very informative and entertaining. A reminder that videos for most of our events will be made available on APSA website exclusively for active members. 

As for upcoming APSA Events, the first event to be held in March will be the:

APSA- WorldVeg Heat Stress Tolerance Special Project Q&A Webinar,  which will be held on Tuesday the 9th of March from 10:30 am - 12:30 pm (Bangkok Time). The ‘Heat stress tolerance of tomato & pepper’ project was first presented during the annual workshop of the APSA-WorldVeg Vegetable Breeding Consortium in May 2020 and again at the Asian Solanaceae and Cucurbit Roundtable (ASCRT) in December 2020. The overall objective is to strengthen heat stress tolerance breeding by identifying new sources of heat stress tolerance and characterizing the major component traits associated with heat tolerance for pepper and tomato.

The project was officially launched in September 2020 through APSA with a start date of July 2021. Many companies have shown interest in participating in this project, and APSA and WorldVeg have received various questions from individual companies. To help more companies better understand the project activities and trial requirements, APSA and WorldVeg will hold a Q&A Webinar to address specific questions about the project.

This event, which  will be conducted in English, is free for all APSA Members to attend, but pre-registration is required. Registration is now open and will close on Friday the 5th of March at 12:00 pm (Bangkok Time)

For more information and for registration, please visit the event webpage

SC Seed Technology Webinar - Seed Health Testing using the RT-PCR Technique

APSA’s Standing Committee for Seed Technology is excited to host a series of webinars, which will be exclusively for active APSA Members. The first SC Seed Technology Webinar will be held on Thursday the 1st of April from 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm (Bangkok Time). The main focus on this webinar will be Seed Health Testing using the RT-PCR Technique. The agenda is currently being finalized and once all details are confirmed and registration is open, the APSA Secretariat will send out a communication to all Members regarding this event accordingly. So please stay tuned.

Asian Solanaceous and Cucurbits Roundtable (ASCRT) - Webinar 3: Following the 2nd session of the Asian Solanaceous and Cucurbits Roundtable (ASCRT) a few days ago,  we are pleased to announce that the 3rd session Asian Solanaceous and Cucurbits Roundtable will be held on Wednesday the 28th of April 2021 from 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm (Bangkok Time). This session will focus on the evolving strategies in developing abiotic stress resistance in plant breeding. The first speaker will be Dr. Ivo Rieu from Radboud University, Netherlands who will discuss Heat yield: improving tomato reproductive success under high temperatures. And the 2nd Speaker will be  Prof. She-shy Sreeman from University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore, India who will discuss Radioactive isotope surrogate assays for water use efficiency in plants

Participation for the third ASCRT session is FREE for ALL ACTIVE APSA Members, but pre-registration is required. To register for the event, please visit the official event page on our official APSA Website.

Find all of our upcoming events on our website here.

Other upcoming industry events of interest: 

  • Mar 16, 18 and April 1  15th Session of the Commission on Phytosanitary Measures in Rome
  • May 17 is the UN Convention on Biological Diversity held in Kunming, Chna. The convention will review the achievement and delivery of the CBD’s Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020. It is also anticipated that the final decision on the post-2020 global biodiversity framework will be taken, together with decisions on related topics including capacity building and resource mobilization. The “zero draft” for a post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework has included a focus on ensuring work to preserve biodiversity contributes to “the nutrition, food security, and livelihoods of people, especially for the most vulnerable.”
  • June 28 to July 1, International Plant Health Conference "Protecting Plant Health in a changing world" in Helsinki

July 1, official Closing of International Year of Plant Health (as part of losing the conference in Helsinki) 

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Sponsorship & Advertising opportunities

As part of APSA’s digitalization strategy, we’re offering our members the chance to directly reach thousands of seed industry decision makers directly - in their inbox, on their smartphone, and PC through our exciting new affiliate, sponsorship and advertising opportunities. Through our digital channels we are emphasizing SEO dynamics to ensure our content reaches not only our members but other seed industry specific stakeholders. What we’re offering this year: 

  • Hyperlinked logos on select content pages on our website
  • Exposure and publicity opportunities through our  social media (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) ideal for company news, events and announcements 
  • Sponsorship spotlights in our newsletter, podcast, virtual events and virtual events calendar, which will not only help you to build brand awareness and affiliation, but also drive target audiences directly to you, your services and products 
  • We’re still offering conventional advertising opportunities in our e-Magazine, which will continued to be published on a quarterly basis, though want to emphasize the increasing shift towards digitization in the socalled ‘New Normal’ 

In sum, we are offering all inclusive value addition packages that can be customized to your company or organization’s needs. To find out more, see our media kit and rate sheet, and should you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to email me ( and/or my colleagues, Jerry ( as well as Mike and Komsak.




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Seed Industry News

Spotlight News

In response to increasingly restrictive phytosanitary measures being implemented on seed imports in many countries, the International Seed Federation (ISF) is calling on governments “to recognize and implement international standards drafted by the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC), including ISPM 38 and 11, in order to facilitate international agricultural trade and deliver food security.” 

To this regard, the ISF has issued a statement which you can find on our international seed industry news page here. APSA, as an Asia Pacific seed industry voice, is aligned with ISF and will play our part to ensure our members and stakeholders are informed and can make the necessary adjustments. 

Following are more related developments and briefs:

Starting April 1, all phytosanitary certificates issued for EU-bound seeds of tomato (Solanum lycopersicum), as well as peppers (Capsicum spp.) must be based on a PCR lab report certifying the seed as free of Tomato brown rugose fruit virus (ToBRFV).  This announcement in the EU was followed by similar new regulations or requirements throughout our region as follows:

In the Republic of Turkey, since January 31, consignments of pepper (Capsicum sp) and tomato seeds imported into Turkey have had to meet new “additional declaration” requirements based on criteria related to the variety’s resistance to ToBRFV, including those related to parent lines and testing certification requirements.  

Over in Chinese Taipei, the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu has issued an SPS (​​​​​​Sanitary and phytosanitary) notification of emergency measures to all of its trading partners, mandating that as of 23 February 2021, imported seeds of Solanum spp. and Capsicum spp. need to be  laboratory-certified free from four viruses and six viroids. 

Likewise, in Japan, starting March 5 imports of seeds and plants of tomato and peppers must be certified by the National Plant Protection Organizations (NPPO) of exporting countries as being free from ToBRFV based on an RT-PCR Assay.  

And as we reported last month, Thailand also has new import requirements for various crops. 

You can read specific details on all of these new conditions and requirements and regulations on our respective country industry news pages linked below. 

And following are other headlines from the seed industry of interest: 

2020 Certified Seed Statistical Reports from the Australian Seeds Authority have been shared by the Australian Seed Federation, which has also reported on a new Import permit requirement for Apiaceous vegetable seeds: Starting 30 March 2021, an import permit will be mandated for several apiaceous seed species imported for sowing and human consumption. See Australia seed industry news page for more details. 

The Federation of Seed Industry of India (FSII) recently co-organized two webinars with research and seed sector partners, including a webinar on “Research Priorities for Indian Seed Sector” and a virtual International Conference on the topic ‘Current Scenario & Path forward for GM crops in India’. For more detailed reports on the two events, see FSII updates on this page here as well as our India seed industry news page

The New Zealand Grain & Seed Trade Association (NZGSTA) has reported that the value of New Zealand seed exports increased by 4.6% in 2020 compared to a year earlier, to a record $250m . Aside from this the association reports on a new record for ryegrass proprietary pasture seed and has also recently elected a new President. See New Zealand seed industry news page for more details.

The Indonesian Seed Association (ASBENINDO) on February 23 held its Congress, which is organized once every five years. During the Congress, the association reelected chairman, Mr. Ricky Gunawan, whose new tenure will be from 2021-2026. More details from ASBENINDO and Indonesia seed sector here.

The Korean Seed Association (KOSA) on its website has announced details about a training program for “Variety Protection Application and Guidance Processes” and the implementation of the breeding project that will focus on various crops iMore details on Korea seed industry news page.

The Philippine Seed Industry Association (PSIA) on February 18 organized the “Organic Law and Climate Change Webinar”. Held via Google Meet the full name of the webinar was “Policies on Organic Agriculture and Climate Change- Nationally Determined Contributions: Opportunities for the Private Sector” and featured as a speaker, Dr. Saturnina Halos, the president of the Biotechnology Coalition of the Philippines. Find out more on the Philippines seed industry news page.

Also of particular interest here in Thailand is a newly documented Cultivar of Cannabis Sativa being issued a Plant Variety Protection (PVP) certificate, at the same time that Thai authorities have begun processing applications for licenses to produce, import, export, distribute, and possess “hemp”. More details on Thailand seed industry news page. 

The above are only a sample of what’s new. For more of all the latest news updates from around the region, visit our respective news portals by country:

Seed Industry News by country in alphabetical order








Korea, South





New Zealand








Central Asia

Middle East



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