Quality Seed | Quality Life
June 2021 Newsletter
Welcome, all to the June 2021 APSA newsletter and podcast. The APSA Secretariat hopes that everyone is doing well and staying safe during these difficult times.
Though the situation appears to be improving in many parts of the world, it goes without saying that we need to continue to exercise vigilance day-to-day as the global public health crisis persists. In the past few weeks and months, the greater APSA family has suffered great loss through the passing of members and immediate family members.
Last month we wrote condolences to the family members of three late APSA members (Buta Singh of Lucky Seeds; Niranjan K Kollipara of Garc Seeds and Mr. Janakbhai Peshrana of Seeds India, as well as the Father of Hybrid Rice, Yuan Longping). This month we’d also like to send our thoughts to APSA Vice President Dr. Manish Patel, who had lost his father, and APSA Technical Coordination Manager, Ms Kunaporn Phuntunil, whose mother passed away recently. May all surviving friends and families, and anyone else reading this who has lost someone dear to them, find the strength, solitude and peace to get through these difficult times.
Next, we would like to inform members on the recent report we have prepared through feedback from the Working Group of Integrated Vegetable Seed Companies and the Special Interest Group of Field Crops on the impacts of COVID-19. We really value all the responses we received from all members of these two groups, who have shared great insights into their practices during this difficult time of the seed industry. The summary for this can be found on pages 40-41 of the new magazine, linked at the end of the newsletter.
In this past quarter we have participated in many important initiatives of our stakeholders. One of them was the United Nations Food Systems Summit (UN-FSS) dialogue, organized by the ISF and by SEARCA and CropLife Asia. The seed sector will be an integral part of the Sustainable Development agenda and thus achieving the 17 Global Goals in the coming months and years. To help members get up to speed on this, see the story on pages 40-41 of the Q2 magazine, linked below.
Speaking of the SDGs, APSA has continued to support members and partners in capacity-building initiatives and projects across the region, which has become increasingly important during the pandemic. There are a number of challenges in the seed sector that we need to collaborate on, and work closer together to set a strong foundation, which will not only ensure we can cope with the challenges, but thrive in the long run.
To this respect, APSA on 8-10 June partnered with the US Department of Agriculture and American Seed Trade Association to organize an online workshop under the theme “Strengthening sustainable seed system for the Lower Mekong Countries”. This Activity is a component of the Seed Trade Capacity Building Project in the Lower Mekong Region funded under the Mekong-U.S. Partnership (MUSP). This collaboration builds on our previous collaboration facilitated through what was formerly known as the Lower Mekong Initiative, which culminated at the Asian Seed Congress in Kuala Lumpur in 2019.
For this most recent meeting, participants included officials from Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Thailand together with representatives from national seed associations. The three-day virtual workshop focused on several strategic areas, including plant variety protection, lab accreditation process and phytosanitary regulation, for which we received country-level updates on specific challenges. This will help in our capacity-building efforts moving forward. (Read more on the MUSP workshop on pages 11-13.)
And now some updates from the APSA Office Bearer and Executive Committee meeting, which was held online 20-21 June.
First, please be informed that Dr. Shupeng Yan of Haidian Seed Chamber of Commerce (Corporate members: Seed Association) has resigned his position on the EC. On behalf of APSA secretariat, I would also like to thank Dr. Yan for his contributions and support, under his capacity as both an APSA EC member and as a co-chair of SIG Vegetable and Ornamentals.
To fill his position on the latter, the EC has endorsed Dr. Sumitra Kantrong as the new co-chair. We welcome Dr. Sumitra and congratulate her.
Also, we are pleased to welcome the nomination of Dr Yan’s replacement on the EC: Lin Lin something name See page 7 of the magazine for her full bio.
The EC has agreed to hold the upcoming virtual AGM on 25 November, and for our virtual technical sessions to take place 22 - 24 November. During that week, we also plan to co-host with the China Seed Association a session on investment opportunities in China. We will confirm and announce the agenda and program to members by September.
The AGM will include elections to fill four seats (two for seed enterprises or government agency, one for seed association category and one for the associate category). By the end of July, the APSA President will call out for the election and announce the AGM date formally. Please stay tuned for more updates about this from the Secretariat.
As for the Asian Seed Congress 2023 proposal, this year the EC has decided to include the view from our members to select their top three countries from out of five countries that we received proposals for. A survey will be sent out to members by the end of October, detailing each proposal, and asking members to review and select their three most preferred options for ASC 2023. The three most preferred proposals will be further considered by the EC after that. As for 2022, we are confident that we will be able to hold a physical Asian Seed Congress and have initiated discussions with the NOC through the Thai Seed Trade Association.
Finally, I would like to remind everyone of one of our initiatives in support and recognition of the International Year of Plant Health 2020, which was extended to July 1. As part of efforts to promote and shine the light on outstanding plant pathologists, field inspectors and growers in our region whose job is to keep plants healthy, APSA has launched a program this year to recognize and acknowledge the most influential plant breeding researcher. This award will help to recognize the impact of breeders on the seed industry as well as farmers in the Asia and Pacific region. More details on this campaign are as follows:
THANK YOU to our digital media sponsors
First, we would like to give you an update on the APSA-WorldVeg Breeding Consortium. We’re continuing to process registrations for 2021 membership to the Consortium. More details, benefits and timeline for the Consortium can be found here.
Please be informed that the Heat Stress Tolerance on Tomato & Pepper special project registration has closed, and the total number of participating companies is 13. We are proceeding to the next step , and the project will commence July 1st.
We are excited to plan and prepare a number of activities and special projects for next year, and will announce as soon as confirmed. .
As for the APSA-World Vegetable Center vegetable breeding consortium, it is still possible to register this year, by following this link to register online (member-only); all inquiries can be addressed to Xiaofeng Li. (xiaofeng_APSA@163.com)
SC Seed Technology is pleased to announce that the concept note for APSA Seed Academy Program has been approved by the APSA Executive Committee. Stay tuned for some exciting projects to be offered under this academy. During a June 11 meeting, the committee finalized details for the 2nd Seed Technology Webinar, which will be on “unlocking the power of seed coating”. Details are covered in the Upcoming Events section below. They also discussed a promising topic for a future webinar on seed upgrading.
SC IPR & Biodiversity warmly welcomes Mr Khuat Anh Viet from Syngenta as its newest member. Mr Viet currently works as a Legal Counsel for Vegetable Seeds at Syngenta Singapore. He is very happy to join the committee and wishes to contribute to IP topics discussing the region. During a June 17 meeting, the committee discussed updates on a joint letter to UPOV, regarding the implementation of the exception of acts done privately and for non-commercial purposes in relation to smallholder farmers and the new initiative from EA-PVP which is an E- PVP system pilot. The committee had prepared a questionnaire on Plant Breeders and Farmers Rights, which was disseminated through seed associations. So far, responses have been received from six countries: Malaysia, India, China, the Philippines, Australia and Korea, and more from other countries in the region are expected. Results will be consolidated, and through collaboration with ISF and other regional seed associations, the plan is to draft guidance on acts done for privately and for non-commercial purposes. Regarding the upcoming online APSA technical session in November, the committee plans to focus on IPR and biodiversity/plant genetic resources.
SC International Trade and Quarantine met on June 16 and covered a lot of ground, including on APSA’s upcoming 7th Phytosanitary Expert Consultation, the Standards and Trade Development Facility (STDF) Project Preparation Grant (PPG) workshop for pilot countries and questionnaires that we have sent to NPPOs. The questionnaire sent to NPPOs will be crucial for APSA, APAARI, ISF, ASTA and CropLife Asia in planning for supporting and capacity building of the NPPOs, and for completing the full STDF proposal. The committee has also finalized the criteria and timeline for APSA’s new Recognition Award for the most innovative entomologists and plant pathologists in the Asian seed sector. More details in upcoming events section below.
SIG Field Crops had very productive meeting on June 30, specifically with regard to the planning of the Train the Trainer’s program on seed production practices for field crops, with a focus on IP Protection. They also brainstormed on the preparation of the first webinar organized by the committee: “FIELD CROPS WEBINAR SESSION 1 - BREEDING FOR RESILIENT FIELD CROPS”. This will be the first of two planned webinars organized by this group this year
SIG Veg & Orn met on 10 June: The first important update is the resignation of an EC member, Dr. Shupeng Yan, who has also been the co-chair of SIG V&O. The committee thanked Dr. Shupeng Yan for his continued support and his contribution during his term as member and co-chair, and welcomed Dr. Sumitra Kantrong as new co-chair until her tenure on the EC is up next year. The committee has started to plan for the upcoming APSA virtual technical sessions, under the umbrella of the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables (IYFV). Following are updates for sub-committees and groups:
The WIC Working Group has made progress on the University Connect initiative and pilot countries are under discussion with National seed associations. The 2nd round of the Train the Trainers (TTT) Program 2021 will be held on 19th and 20th October 2021. Following the 1st TTT program from October 2020, the follow-up training sessions for the trainers will be arranged in August and November. These follow-up sessions will be conducted together with the PVP toolbox program supported by Naktuinbouw.
The DRT Working Group will start to conduct the resistance trials of Powdery mildew on bitter gourd as soon as all the DRT members receive the bitter gourd seeds in August 2021. DRT members have already started to plan the next crop and disease to identify the differential hosts.
The R&D Advisory Group met on 22nd June. The “Recognition award for most influential plant breeding researchers” program has been announced and the deadline to submit nomination is 30th July. The awardees will be announced in December 2021. Aside from this, the R&D Advisory Group successfully conducted the 4th webinar of the “ASCRT Expert Talk on Crop Improvement” series. The 5th webinar is scheduled to be held on Wednesday 11th August with the theme of “Genome Editing and the Asian Regulatory Landscape” which is going to be a very interesting topic. The group has also been assisting the APSA-NSTDA research proposal and WorldVeg Center for collaborative research proposals. The physical field day in May 2022 for the consortium members of 2021 is under discussion and a detailed plan will be shared with APSA-WorldVeg Consortium members.
APSA SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGN: APSA will be starting a social media campaign to celebrate the International Year of Plant Health (IYPH), declared by the United Nations General Assembly to raise global awareness on how protecting plant health can help end hunger, reduce poverty, protect the environment, and boost economic development.
This campaign’s aim is to recognize the Asia Pacific region’s most gifted plant pathologists, entomologists, and field inspectors whose work ensures companies can deliver clean seeds to farmers and also to growers who produce clean seeds for seed companies.
All active APSA Members can participate in this campaign and if selected, they will be featured on APSA’s various Social Media Channels and within the Asian Seed Magazine. The campaign starts June 1st until July 31st 2021.
For more details, please visit the official Event Webpage here
SEED TECHNOLOGY WEBINAR 2: On Monday the 12th of July 2021, APSA will be holding the 2nd Session of the APSA Seed Technology Webinar. The main focus on UNLOCKING THE POWERS OF SEED COATING - Seed Applied Technologies for Value Addition on Seeds. The webinar will feature 2 guest speakers, Mr. Simon Watt who will give an Introduction to Seed Coating: Seed Coating Technologies & Trends in the APAC Region and Dr. Rob Pronk who will speak on the Evolution in Seed Treatment: How a Baby Becomes a Big & Bright Bodyguard. Participation is FREE for all APSA Members, but pre-registration is required. For more details and for registration, please visit the official Event Webpage here.
7TH PHYTOSANITARY EXPERT CONSULTATION: On the 29th to the 30th of July 2021, APSA will be hosting the 7th Phytosanitary Expert Consultation. This event is INVITE ONLY. Staff from National Plant Protection Offices (NPPO) in Asia, Seed Association and APSA Stakeholders will be invited to participate. The purpose of the event is to continue to facilitate the seed trade in the region and to discuss further the public private partnership to strengthen the collaboration to address all concerns relating to seed movement across borders. This will be the first time that APSA has put together a consultation workshop for the STDF Project Proposal Grant to build capacity on ISPM-38 implementation to the 8 pilot countries.For more details, please visit the official Event Webpage here.
ASIAN SOLANACEOUS & CUCURBITS ROUND TABLE (ASCRT) SESSION 5: On Wednesday the 11th of August, APSA will be holding Session 5 of the ASIAN SOLANACEOUS & CUCURBITS ROUND TABLE (ASCRT), with the focus on Genome Editing and the Asian Regulatory Landscape. This session will feature 2 guest speakers, Dr. Hiroshi Ezura who will speak on Gene Edited Tomato for Human Health and Mr. Fabrice Mattei who will discuss on What Strategy for Gene-Edited Crops in the Current Legal Uncertainty in Asia and Beyond? Participation is FREE for all APSA Members, but pre-registration is required. For more details and for registration, please visit the official Event Webpage here.
FIELD CROPS: TRAIN THE TRAINERS PROGRAM ON SEED PRODUCTION PRACTICE: TO FOCUS ON IP PROTECTION: An initiative from APSA Special Interest Group Field Crops Committee to organize an exclusive Train the Trainers program to provide best practices for field crops seed production practices on intellectual property rights (IP) protection, starting from breeding to commercialization process. The event is by invitation only and will be held on Friday the 20th of August 2021. For more details, please visit the official Event Webpage here.
FIELD CROPS WEBINAR SESSION 1 - BREEDING FOR RESILIENT FIELD CROPS: Hosted by APSA Special Interest Group for Field Crops, APSA will soon hold a new webinar series on Field Crops. The series includes essential topics related to breeding technologies and market development strategies for field crops. The first session of the Field Crops Webinar will be held on Thursday the 26th of August 2021 and will focus on Breeding for Resilient Field Crops. For more details and for registration, please visit the official Event Webpage here.
ISF VIRTUAL CONGRESS 2021:
From the 5th to the 7th of July 2021, ISF will be holding their Virtual Congress 2021. It brings together industry leaders and external partners in a dynamic setup of international panels, keynote speeches, showcase of innovations, and live interactions – open virtually to all.
Participants will have access to the broadcast of the international panels and sponsored content and will be able to participate in the live discussions. The virtual congress also includes a live chat, forum wall, resource center, and an area to create your profile and interact with other attendees.
The link between food systems, sustainable agriculture, plant breeding innovation, and seed movement will be discussed by a line-up of industry leaders and experts in a three-day virtual event open to all:
These sessions, along with several side events hosted by sponsors, will be held live from a studio and streamed on Channel World Seed.
Participation is FREE for all to attend but pre-registration is required. For more details on the event and how to register, please visit the Event Page here.
APAARI WEBINAR SERIES ON THE APPLICATIONS OF GENE EDITING IN SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE AND FOOD SECURITY IN ASIA-PACIFIC REGION
Applications of gene-editing to advance agricultural sustainability and nutrition security are receiving significant interest, with a rich pipeline of gene-edited plants being developed by public and private sector organizations across the Asian continent. To support advancement in gene editing, the Asia-Pacific Association of Agricultural Research Institutions (APAARI), will host a Webinar Series on Applications of Gene Editing in Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security in Asia-Pacific Region. The webinar series will take place over the course of 3-days and will cover key aspects, including presentations by subject specific experts and followed by panel discussion.
Day 1 of the Webinar Series will be held on the 21st of July 2021 and will focus on Genome Editing Tools & its Applications for Targeted Plant Breeding. Day 2 will be held on the 4th of August 2021 and focus on Advancing Genome Edited Plants from Lab to Land. And the final 3rd Day of the Webinar will be held on the 18th of August 2021 focusing on Enabling Policies for Genome Editing in Agriculture.
The webinar series is FREE for all to attend, but pre-registration is required. For more details on the event and how to register, please visit the Event Page here.
UNITED NATIONS FOOD SYSTEMS SUMMIT 2021 (PRE-SUMMIT EVENT)
The Pre-Summit of the UN Food Systems Summit will set the stage for the culminating global event in September by bringing together diverse actors from around the world to leverage the power of food systems to deliver progress on all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Hosted by the Government of Italy, the Pre-Summit will take place in Rome from 26–28 July 2021. The event, which is open to all who would like to participate, will take a hybrid format, with an in-person component complemented by a vast virtual program and platform. Through the Pre-Summit, the UN Food Systems Summit will reaffirm its commitment to promote human rights for all and ensure the most marginalized groups have an opportunity to participate in, contribute to and benefit from the Summit process.
For more information on the event and how to register, please visit the official webpage here.
UC DAVIS PLANT BREEDING ACADEMY
The Seed Biotechnology Center at the University of California, Davis has organized a professional development course to teach the principles of plant breeding to seed industry personnel. This two-year course addresses the reduced numbers of plant breeders being trained in academic programs. Participants meet at UC Davis for six sessions over two years. Readings and exercises continue between sessions via internet to allow participants to maintain their current positions while being involved in the course.
The course is targeted toward personnel currently involved in plant breeding programs who lack the academic background in genetics theory and practice to advance as independent breeders, and to current breeders who desire a refresher course or would like to broaden their expertise. The goal of this course is to develop the skills and abilities of current industry personnel to enable them to become independent breeders or more valuable contributors to larger breeding programs.
Originally, the course was set to begin in September of 2020 and run through June of 2022. However, due to the COVID pandemic, the initiation of PBA VIII is now delayed with plans to start in the Fall of 2021.
If you are interested in participating and applying for the UC Davis Plant Breeding Academy Course, please click on the following link for more details.
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 at Rajamangala University of Technology Suvarnabhumi, Ayutthaya, Thailand. 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. Originally planned to be held in June 2021, the event has now been moved to November 2021. Once more details are finalized, we will be sure to inform all members. So please stay tuned for more details.
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:
This month our editorial focus has been dedicated to the production of Asian Seed Volume 27, Quarter 2 edition, which includes a lot of great content (see section below). Thus we don’t have provide our usual comprehensive regional round-up list of stories, which we’ll catch up on next month.
This morning, our friends at the Bangladesh Seed Association did send us one news item about an activity they organized to commemorate the late agronomist and hybrid rice breeder, Prof Yuan Longping.
We will cover this in more detail and share their video of the event in the near future. Meanwhile you can read about the event here, and feel free to browse all of our country news pages for other seed industry news you might have missed in recent weeks, months.
Asian Seed magazine Vol. 27 No.2 (Quarter 2, 2021)
This issue is packed with interesting and timely content. In addition to quarterly addresses from the President and Executive Director, which include important updates from the Executive Committee’s recent meeting, there’s a lot of timely featured content selected and prepared specifically with the Asia-Pacific seedsman and women in mind: The cover story encompasses the greater theme of Sustainable Development, shedding light on the background, history and specific agenda to transform all aspects of industry and society in order to meet the 17 Global Goals. What’s more, we also provide the perspective of the seed industry, outline precisely our role and contribution in these concerted efforts. This leads into another feature about nutrition as a foundation for food security, and specifically a break-down of the main vitamin groups -- what they do and which fruits and vegetables contain them.
Beyond this, we’ve got quantitative and qualitative data to analyze the impacts of COVID-19 on the Asia-Pacific seed sector, including questionnaire responses from vegetable and field crop seed companies, plus an analysis of preliminary vegetable seed trade data spanning 2016-2020. And that’s not all! There’s our brand new ‘Smart Ag Tech’ column which features a software engineer who has made the ‘Plant Factory’ model profitable in the tropics; ‘Part 2’ Interview with the OECD Seed Schemes team about their digitization efforts; tributes to our fallen seed heroes; summary reports from all of our recent meetings, committees and workshops, plus links, and calendar of all past and upcoming APSA meetings. Ready to upgrade and grow… your brain? Then login- and download the latest issue now!
© 2020, Asia and Pacific Seed Alliance, Ltd. Unless where otherwise stated, all content in this newsletter is protected by
Copyright © laws, and/or utilized under non-commercial "Fair Use" provisions. This Newsletter is sent to APSA active members, and select stakeholders and associates.
If you do not wish to receive this newsletter, please unsubscribe via this link.