Newsletter: March 2021

Quality Seed | Quality Life

March 2021 Newsletter

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

Table of Contents 


Welcome to our March newsletter, the third edition of the year, and last for Quarter One. We’ve got some exciting news and announcements to share with you here. 


First, we are pleased to share with you that APSA was recently granted a license to operate under a Foreign Private Organization (FPO) registration in Bangkok. The license, which is renewable annually, will enable continuous progress with various projects we are organizing, and plan to organize, in the region. 

This milestone fortifies APSA’s position and will serve to strengthen our collaboration prospects with public sector entities, in Thailand as well as in other countries in the Asia-Pacific region. It would not have been possible without the strong leadership, commitment, guidance and support of APSA members and the Executive Committee, and especially of past and current presidents: Mr. Manas Chiaravanond, Dr. Chairerg Sagwansupyakorn Dr. Zhang Mengyu, Mr. Tahir Saleemi, Ms. Brenda Dossey and Mr. Wichai Laocharoenpornkul.

Credit also goes to the tireless work of the APSA Secretariat team, and in particular, our Administrative Office Manager, Ms Weeranuch Mhadlhoo, who has been working diligently and closely with Thai officials on compliance particulars over the past year.  

Read more details about APSA’s FPO license here

Another important piece of news is that APSA and The National Science and Technology Development Agency, Thailand, (NSTDA) agreed to extend our collaboration under the MOU, signed in 2018,  until 2027. The extended MOU is crucial as a framework for our ongoing research and development collaboration under the public-private partnership (PPP) model. The research proposal presented this year to members will surely help to shorten the lead time for R&D process to screen the resistant lines of CaCV and TNRV in peppers. (See Technical Affairs section below)  

For more information, see news announcement here

Finally, we would like to thank all members who have completed their renewal of membership in the past three months. For those who have not yet done so, we encourage you to do so without delay; we have a number of upcoming webinars, registration for which is limited to only active members, who can register an unlimited number employees to attend, free of charge. Following are more updates from the Secretariat. 

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THANK YOU to our digital media sponsors

Technical Affairs

Public Private Partnerships

Welcome to Technical Affairs update. First, we would like to give you an update 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. This year the Heat Stress Tolerance of tomato & pepper special project registration is still on and the call closed date is by end of April. (Click here for project details)

APSA-WorldVeg also had the Q&A webinar on Heat Stress Tolerance of Tomato & Pepper project on March 9th. APSA active members who miss the online event may see it from this link.

Please note that the annual workshop will be held online on Tuesday, May 11, 2021. The meeting agenda will be ready in mid of April and we will open the registration then. There is no limitation for the number of participants per consortium company this year. In addition to the workshop, we also provide the opportunity for consortium members to have an online one-on-one chat with WorldVeg scientists.

Besides the 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 in joining the consortium and the special project, You can click the link here to register online (member-only) or you can contact Xiaofeng Li. 

Another public-private partnership project, APSA-NSTDA’s new collaboration/project for Screening of Tomato necrotic ringspot virus (TNRV) and Capsicum chlorosis virus (CaCV)-resistant sources in pepper germplasm was closed for registration on March 31. Companies joining this project will benefit greatly by receiving a full report with the virus screening technique. Instead of one year, the report will be shared to the public only after three years once the project is completed, and the virus screening technique will only be shared to participating companies. We plan to organize  a video call with participating companies to give more info about the project and sign contracts. 

SIGs and SCs

Following are updates from APSA’s Standing Committees (SCs) and Special Interest Groups (SIGs):

SC Seed Technology committee is excited about the upcoming APSA Seed Technology - Webinar 1 under the theme of Seed Health Testing for Plant Virus Pathogens to be held on April 1st. The committee had a meeting on March 24 to ensure the webinar will go smoothly as well as to plan for the 2nd webinar in July regarding seed coating and seed pelleting. In addition, planning for the “Certified Seed Technologist” program is still in process. 

SC IPR & Biodiversity had a meeting on March 10 and there were a few changes of members this year. First, the committee congratulated and thanked Casper van Kempen, who has retired after serving faithfully on the APSA Executive Committee since 2015, as well as Co-chair of SC IPR&Biodiversity. The committee also welcomed Liam Gimon from the Anti-Infringement Bureau (AIB) to fill Casper’s shoes. Second, the committee thanked Koh Teck Wah who resigned after being on the committee since 2018. He will serve as APSA Treasurer. Third, the committee welcomed Rosa Natividad P. Villanueva from East-West Seed Co., Ltd., and Viet Anh Khuat from Syngenta Asia Pacific Pte. Ltd. as new committee members to join in the next committee meeting.  

There was also an update from the UPOV Essential Derived Variety (EDV) Working Group where APSA is one of the WG members that the draft Explanatory Note in this topic will be soon shared with UPOV EDV country members. On another note, the committee is working on a joint draft letter with the topic “Contribution in response to UPOV Circular E-20/246: The implementation of the exception of acts done privately and for non-commercial purposes in relation to smallholder farmers.” 

SC International Trade and Quarantine met online on March 23 and warmly welcomed Dr Ravi Khetarpal, APAARI Executive Secretary, as a member of SC ITQ to occasionally join the meeting as an APSA stakeholder. The committee discussed the work plan for approving Project Preparation Grants (PPG) of the Standards and Trade Development Facility (STDF) proposal. Additionally, the group continued a discussion on an idea to recognize entomologists and/or plant pathologists in Asia & Pacific to celebrate the International Year of Plant Health, and other topics such as an update on the Philippine local hybrid rice seed production policy by Dr Mary Ann Sayoc from Philippine Seed Industry Association.  

For SIG Field Crops last met on March 30th. The topic of Philippine local hybrid rice seed production policy also was discussedby the Chair, Dr Frisco M Malabanan, which you can find more information on in the minutes of the meeting in the membership section. The group also continued the discussion on the 2021 activity plan such as joint activities with SIG V&O for Train the Trainer Programs, University Connect Program and Breeder Recognition Program.

SIG Veg & Orn had their 2nd meeting of 2021 on 25th March. The group reviewed the action points from the last meeting and discussed activities for 2021. The SIG Veg & Orn approved the membership of Mr. Candra Setiawan Lily from PT. Tani Murni Seeds Indonesia. the committee now comprises a total of 10 members. Veg & Orn members have also started to plan activities for the 2021 technical session and align them with the International Year of Plant Health. Following are updates from several sub-committees: 


The Working Group of Integrated Vegetable Seed Companies or WIC: The Chair and Co-chair of WIC met with APSA secretariat on March 18. The agenda for the WIC mid-term meeting was finalized and the actions points from the previous meeting were reviewed. The Chair and Co-chair of the WIC group also approved membership for 4 new members, who will join the WIC group as observers for at least one year. The observers will join the WIC mid-term meeting which is scheduled as a virtual event on 8 April. Stand by for more updates on WIC next month. 


The Working Group of Disease Resistance Terminology had their 2nd meeting of 2021 on March 26. The group decided on the resistant and susceptible varieties of Bittergourd to move on with and defined the protocol for the laboratory testing. DRT members also discussed the action plan for the year 2021. The group is expected to have the next meeting in May 2021.


The R&D Advisory Group had their 3rd meeting of 2021 on March 18. Representatives from the World Vegetable Center were invited to discuss the Field Day in 2022 and to provide an update on research proposals. The Field Day for 2022 is all set and the World Vegetable Center will be carefully planning to ensurethe event is successful. The R&D AG members also reviewed the summary and the survey report of the 2nd ASCRT Expert Talk on Crop Improvement webinar. The registration for the 3rd webinar of the ASCRT is open now, please visit the APSA website for more information. APSA’s initiative for the Recognition of the Breeders’ Award is almost finalized. APSA will soon announce the program and will start to accept nominations. Stay tuned for more information.

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APSA Seed Technology Webinar 1 

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 Seed Technology Webinar will be held on Thursday the 1st of April from 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm (Bangkok Time). The main focus of this webinar will be Seed Health Testing for Plant Virus Pathogens. The webinar will feature 2 key guest speakers. The first is Mr. Thomas Baldwin, Head of Molecular Detection, GEVES in France who will give an Overview of Seed Health Testing for Pathogenic Plant Viruses. The second guest speaker is Mr. Daniel Bakker, Senior Researcher, R&D Department, Naktuinbouw in the Netherlands who will discuss Method Validation for Virus Pathogens Testing. Immediately following will be Mr. Michael Leader, Chair, APSA Standing Committee on International Trade & Quarantine who will give an Overview of Phytosanitary Regulation. 

This is only the first APSA Seed Technology Webinar, with future webinars planned in the month of July and September. For more details please visit the event page on our official APSA Website (

Asian Solanaceous and Cucurbits Roundtable (ASCRT) - Session 3

Following the 2nd session of the Asian Solanaceous and Cucurbits Roundtable (ASCRT) which was held in February,  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. If you have not yet registered for the event, do so immediately. Registration will close on the 26th of April. For more information and to register for the event, please visit the event page on our official APSA Website. (

7th Plant Genomics & Gene Editing Congress: Asia

A very interesting event happening next month from the 20th to the 21st of April, the 7th PLANT GENOMICS & GENE EDITING CONGRESS : ASIA co-located with the 2nd MICROBIOME FOR AGRICULTURE CONGRESS. This 2-day virtual meeting, which gathers leading experts in the subject areas, will explore the latest gene-editing technologies and methods that prompt agricultural improvement such as CRISPR, TALENs and ‘Omics that increase the efficiency with optimal results. You will learn the best ways of applying artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning in plant bioinformatics, as well as discover how plant epigenetics is driving crop development.

This meeting is co-located with the 2nd MICROBIOME FOR AGRICULTURE CONGRESS. Since plant and soil microbiome is considered to be the most viable approach for the next green revolution while maintaining environmental sustainability, more research and development works have been done lately. This congress will look closely into the interaction of the microbiota found in the ground and its agricultural benefits, the role it plays in the cycling of nutrients, the rapid growth of the agricultural biologicals industry as well as its roles in disease and stress resistance.

With access to over 50 presentations across 2 co-located events, these conferences will provide you with the opportunity to be updated on all the latest developments in the field of plant genomics, gene editing and agricultural microbiome developments.

A special 10% discount is being offered to all APSA members. For more information, please visit the event page on APSA’s official website (

UN Convention on Biological Diversity

The UN Convention on Biological Diversity will be held on May 17 in Kunming, China. 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.”

2021 China International Seed Trade Exhibition (CISTE)

China National Seed Trade Association (CNSTA) and CCPIT Sub-council of Chemical Industry together will organize the 2021 China International Seed Trade Exhibition(CISTE) at Shanghai New International Expo Center, China, on 22-24 June 2021. Based on the largest global agrochemical exhibition (CAC), CISTE builds up a professional export platform and communication and cooperation opportunities for agricultural material purchasers from more than 100 countries around the world to promote seed trade and movement between China and the other countries in the world. Besides, for the convenience of foreign attendees who can't attend, there is also a virtual expo, CAC Online, during 1-10 March, 2021. You can find the exhibitors online and start a real-time conversation with them.  

For more details please visit

The 17th National Conference on Seed Technology 2021

The Seed Association of Thailand, in association with Rajamangala University of Technology Suvarnabhumi, the Rice Department, the Department of Agriculture Extension, the Forestry Department, the Thai Seed Trade Association, the Plant Breeding and Multiplication Association of Thailand, and the Asia Pacific Seed Association, will hold the 17th National Plant Seeds Symposium during 22 - 24 June 2021 at Rajamangala University of Technology Suvarnabhumi, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya Hantra Campus, Ayutthaya Province. The conference will host researchers, academics, and the private sector with the aim of growing Thailand into a global “Seed Hub”. Topics will include information on research and development of seed technology, the direction and framework for seed research for use in the seed industry, and how seed research institutions can solve the problems experienced by the Thai seed industry.

Food Systems Summit in September (from ISF comms details)

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Sponsorship & Advertising opportunities

As part of APSA’s digitalization and digitization strategy, in 2021 we’re offering active members even more ways to directly reach Asia-Pacific seed industry decision makers directly -- in their inbox, on their desktop PCs, laptops, smartphone, tablets, and phablets alike,  through our exciting new affiliate, sponsorship, marketing, communication,  advertising and publicity opportunities. 

So, come learn about our dynamic, new and improving digital channels and communication tools, which will help you engage and impress thousands of APSA members and other seed industry stakeholders more efficiently and effectively, whether to build brand awareness, affiliation or corporate identity, or to attract and drive specific audiences directly to you, your services and products, we can assist you! 

In sum, our 2021 ‘New Normal’ offerings include: 

  • Hyperlinked logos on select content pages on our website
  • Exposure and publicity opportunities through our  social media (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn)
  • Sponsorship spotlights in our newsletter, podcast, virtual events and online calendar, and
  • We’re still offering conventional marketing and communication tools through advertisements and advertorials in our e-Magazine, which will continued to be published quarterly basis

See see our media kit and rate sheet below for specifics, and for inquiries don’t hesitate to email Bobbie (, Steven ( or Jerry (




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Seed Industry News

Spotlight News

Global seed sector commits to UN goals, declares engagement to deliver sustainable food systems: March 16. Representatives of seed companies and associations representing all regions of the world have signed a declaration committing to actively support the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and demonstrate their extensive and diverse contributions towards sustainable food systems, while calling for more urgent public-private cooperation … 

UN adopts resolution for 2023 Intl Year of Millets: The United Nations General Assembly on March 3 adopted a resolution to formally declare 2023 as the International Year of Millets. The adoption was announced as part of the 75th session of the UN General Assembly … 

Syngenta Foundation’s variety commercialization guideline: The Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture recently finalized its Seeds2B variety commercialization guidelines, created to help strengthen the seed supply chain … and “ensure that only relevant varieties are developed and that seeds are delivered successfully.”

More on these and more on our international seed industry news page

GM Moratorium to be lifted in NSW: New South Wales will lift its 18-year moratorium on GM crops starting from July, when the Gene Technology Act 2003 would be allowed to expire on 1 July 2021. In response, Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Seed Federation, Mr Osman Mewett commended the move in a news release and TV interview… 

See Australia seed industry news updates

BSA member in world record for largest crop art mosaic: Bangladesh has been recognized in the World Guinness Records for the largest Crop Art Mosaic, which is a portrait of the nation’s founding father, Bangabandu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, etched into paddy fields. The theme architect of this record work is KSM Mustafizur Rahman, Managing Director of National Agricare, an active and prominent member of the Bangladesh Seed Association.

See Bangladesh seed industry news updates

The China Seed Congress 2021 & Nanfan Forum was held March 20-24 in the city of Sanya on the island province of Hainan. The event was co-hosted by the China Seed Association (CSA) and the Hainan Provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, Sanya Municipal People’s Government and Haiken Group. 

More on China seed industry news page

KOREA SEED EXPO 2021, announcement of recruitment of exhibition varieties  -  The Foundation of Agricultural Technology Commercialization and Transfer (FACT) has made a call-out for the recruitment (accession) of excellent varieties to grow and display at the KOREA SEED EXPO 2021, which will be held at the K-Seed Valley and Seed Industry Promotion Center, near Gimje city, from October 6 to Nov 2. The EXPO will be held online due to the prolonged COVID-19, and the Demonstration Field will be available through Panorama VR. Visit Korean seed industry news page.

THASTHA gets new president: APSA would like to formally congratulate Dr. Boonyanath Nathwong, who commenced her tenure as the @Thai Seed Trade Association’s new president, taking the reins over from Immediate Past President, Dr. Chairerg Sagwansupyakorn. Dr. Boonyanath’s appointment was announced during THASTHA’s General Assembly Meeting on 24 March, held at the Maharuai Hotel in Bangkok. Dr. Boonyanath, who is the Director of Regulatory Affairs at Monsanto, Thailand of @Bayer Crop Sciences, is an active member of APSA’s Standing Committee of International Trade and Quarantine, who has worked diligently with us in a number of regional initiatives. Stand by for a report from THASTHA’s recent GAM. 

Chia Tai Chief named Person of the Year, firm lauded for Best Practices: Mr. Manas Chiaravanond, Chief Executive Officer of Chia Tai Company Limited, Thailand’s leading innovative agricultural company has been named “Person of the Year 2021”, while his company was bestowed with the “Best Practice Awards 2021”. 

82 Community Enterprises Now Licensed to Grow Cannabis: There are now a reported 82 community enterprises throughout the kingdom that have received licenses to grow cannabis. These are located in Buriram, Nakhon Ratchasima, and Mae Hong Son provinces as well as Bangkok. 

More on Thailand seed industry news page

New Plant Breeding Techniques Policy Resolution:  At a webinar held by the Philippines’ Department of Science and Technology (DOST) through the National Committee on Biosafety of the Philippines (NCBP), new breeding techniques (NBTs) were shared with scientists, regulatory agencies and other stakeholders. Speakers included the ISF’s  Dr. Szabolcs Ruthner, the Philippine Seed Industry Association’s Dr. Gabriel Romero and other experts …

PSIA in Manila edible garden launch: The Philippine Seed Industry Association (PSIA), together with the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Plant Industry and National Parks Development Committee (NPDC) have developed an edible landscape at the Rizal Park, the biggest and most popular national park in the country ….

Read these stories and more on our Philippines 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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Asian Seed magazine Vol. 27 No.1 (Quarter 1, 2021)


This issue is packed with interesting and timely content. In addition to our quarterly addresses from the President and Executive Director, which include important updates from the Executive Committee and APSA Secretariat.

We’ve compiled some seed industry news from around the region and world, and there’s also some exclusive content from members and sponsors. Among these include updates from our seed association contributors, and some member companies, including a  story from Chia Tai about the launch of new packaging for their Home Garden and urban gardening line; We have an exclusive interview with the new CEO of East-West Seed, revealing details about the company’s leadership, strategy and positioning moving forward. Furthermore, there’s a feature story about CGIAR’s Excellence in Breeding platform, as well as an exclusive interview with the OECD about their Seed Scheme, with a focus on the Asia-Pacific region.

In addition, we have updates from all of APSA’s technical activities, projects and initiatives, including summaries from our last AGM, and seed association meeting. There’s an introduction to all of our current EC members and a list of upcoming events. The cover feature is a comprehensive overview of plant cultivation history, trends and technology, covering everything from general systems such as vertical farming, container farms and plant factories to specific systems and arrays including the difference between hydroponics, aeroponics and aquaponics. You don’t want to miss this. APSA members have exclusive 2-week lead access to the magazine, with the download link and password included in your email. The public edition will be published later in April.

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