Newsletter: October 2020

Quality Seed | Quality Life

October 2020 Newsletter

Welcome to APSA’s October 2020 Newsletter! No time to read, download and listen to these important updates via our podcast. Download here. 


Table of Contents 


Can you smell all that change in the air? In the northern latitudes of the vast APSA region, deciduous tree leaves have begun changing color and shedding in anticipation for cooler and colder weather expected during this Autumn-Winter transition; nearer to the equator, sub-tropical monsoon winds have been blowing strong this year, and will soon shift from their southwesterly source at the Bengal and Andaman Seas and around the Indian subcontinent, and replaced from the forces around the East and South China Seas. Rabi planting season will commence soon for much of South Asia, while Southeast Asia gets ready for their second and third rice planting. We certainly can’t forget about our comrades in the Southern latitudes, where warmer weather is on the horizon as spring reaches its apex. We hear there’s been a mixed bag of both woe and whoa Down Under lately, and we wish all our seed, breeding and farmer friends there a bountiful coming Summer planting. Meanwhile, read on for some important updates from APSA:

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From the Secretariat

In anticipation for our upcoming Annual General Meeting, which will be held 26 November virtually (see events below), we have a number of important agenda items to cover and vote on. We have sent out official notice, and the final Agenda directly to all APSA members already, and all associated documents can be found in the AGM folder via our Members Area of our website. 
Please review these documents in advance, as there are some important items to cover and we need all members to exercise their voice and have a say on association matters. Among the important items include several proposed amendments to the APSA constitution. An explanation of these amendments from our legal team and President was sent out to members on October 28 and also included among the documents in our AGM folder online. 
Aside from this we will ask members to ratify APSA’s new Position Paper on Plant Breeding Innovation. The finalized draft can also be found in the AGM folder online, and we encourage you to read it, as it has gotten a lot of thought and care from our technical committees to reflect the values of APSA and the Asia-Pacific seed industry as a whole.   
In other exciting news, as announced on our website earlier in October, we have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the International Seed Testing Association or ISTA. Complementing recent MoUs with Thailand’s National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) and Kasetsart University, this is the third MoU for APSA (Singapore) and will facilitate public-private-partnership to further strengthen seed research, science and testing capacity in the region. Click here for news on this, and do look forward to more exciting news about this and more regional cooperation to further our mission to promote the production and trade of quality seed. 
Following are some more updates from APSA’s Technical Affairs and upcoming Events.

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Technical Affairs

First, please be informed that our Good Practices for Healthy Vegetable Seed Production has been published on our website: download here. The guidelines were prepared as part of an ongoing collaboration between APSA’s Special Interest Group for Vegetables and Ornamentals and the International Seed Federation’s Working Group for Vegetable Seed Production. This document, along with several other important papers, including APSA’s and ISF’s previous paper on Vegetable Seed Production Best Practices Guidelines, are all available from our public Resources page here. We encourage members to download and share! 
Next, an update on APSA’s upcoming Virtual Technical Sessions, which will take place 23-25 November. The full agenda can be found on our website here. We’ve also been promoting individual sessions on our social media channels (See links at end of this newsletter.)  Please note thatwe are only opening registration for active APSA members at this time, though we have not set a limit on the number of registrants per member organization, so be sure to invite all your colleagues to register. More details on registration are in the Events section below. Following are some highlights: 



We've got an exciting line-up of speakers and topics for our Standing Committee on #InternationalTrade and #Quarantine...

Posted by APSA: The Asia and Pacific Seed Association on Tuesday, October 20, 2020


The first session on November 23 will be with APSA’s Standing Committee on International Trade & Quarantine, and will begin with an update on the latest Access To Seeds Index, including its South and Southeast Asia Landscaping Report, to be delivered by Ms Aarti Misal of the World Benchmarking Alliance. This will be followed by a presentation on an OECD report on the impact of COVID-19 on the seed sector, which will be given by Mr Csaba Gaspar (OECD Seed Schemes Program Manager). The session will conclude with a video and discussions on lab accreditation practices, shared by the American Seed Trade Association or ASTA.
  • The second session  on November 23 will be with our Standing Committee on Seed Technology, and will be dedicated to the topic of “Genetic Purity Test: Practical Approach for Seed Industry”. This will be facilitated via a panel discussion led by four speakers as follows: 
  • Mr Shigeru Tanabe, Manager, Quality Management, Sakata Seed Corporation
  • Mr. Poorna Rao, APAC Seeds Quality Head, Syngenta APAC Seeds Quality Head
  • Dr. Wilco Ligterink - Team Leader Crop Innovation, Keygene
  • Dr. Chiara Delogu - ISTA Variety Committee
here will be two virtual sessions on Tuesday, November 24, both organized by our Standing Committee on Intellectual Property Rights and Biodiversity.
The first one (beginning 3pm, ICT) will start with a General Introduction of Digital Sequence Information (DSI) on Genetic Resources from Ms. Anke van den Hurk - Deputy Director, Plantum (the Dutch Seed Association). Following this, we will  feature video presentations on this topic, one from The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) by Dr. John Damien Platten - Senior Scientist, and the other from World Vegetable Center by Dr. Roland Schafleitner - Head of Molecular Genetics Flagship Program Leader and Dr Maarten van Zonneveld - Genebank Manager
The second session (beginning 4.30pm, ICT) will feature a panel discussion on the topic of Barriers of UPOV 1991 Acceptance. For this, we have invited four expert speakers from four countries as follows:
Thailand: Dr. Boonyanath Nathwong - Vice President, Thai Seed Trade Association or THASTA
The Philippines: Dr. Gabriel Ortega Romero - Executive Director, the Philippine Seed Industry Association or PSIA
China: Dr. Cui Yehan - Division Director, Division of PVP Examination, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs
Australia: Mr. Nik Hulse - Chief of Plant Breeder's Rights, IP Australia
The first session on November 25 will be with our Special Interest Group on Field Crops, which will feature presentations on the following three topics.
An update on the Fall Armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) by Dr B. M. Prasanna, Director, Global Maize Program, CIMMYT
Hybrid Rice Breeding Innovation with Biotechnology by Prof. Peng Hai, Director, Joint Molecular Biology Laboratory, Development Center for Science and Technology of MARA and Jianghan University
Breeding innovation to provide genetic gains to farmer’s field by Mr Michael Quinn, Leader, Excellence in Breeding program, CIMMYT
Posted by APSA: The Asia and Pacific Seed Association on Thursday, October 22, 2020


The last-but-certainly-not-least session will be with our Special Interest Group on Vegetables & Ornamentals.  The first presentation of this session will include an Overview of Gene Banks in Asia; crop wild relatives and their importance in climate-smart breeding, to be delivered by Dr. Maarten Van Zonneveld - Genebank Manager of World Vegetable Center and Dr. Benjamin Kilian, Senior Scientist and Project Manager of Global Crop Diversity Trust. This will be followed by a presentation on the Systems Approach Concept by Ms. Merel Langens - Chair of ISF Systems Approach Working Group, and the session will conclude with updates activities from the SIG as well as from our Working Group of Integrated Vegetable Seed Companies.

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There are a number of exciting and interesting seed industry events taking place right now and in the coming weeks. For full list of upcoming events, visit our Events Calendar here. Meanwhile, following are some highlights of what’s going on in the immediate future: 


  • Korea Seed Expo 2020 (October 15 – November 11, 2020):  Due to the ongoing pandemic situation, the 4th Korea Seed Expo will be held in a virtual format over a three-week period from October 15 to November 11, 2020.
    Organized by the Foundation of Agricultural Technology Commercialization & Transfer (FACT), the theme for the 2020 KOREA SEED EXPO is “Seed, Hope for the future,” which contains a message about the infinite potential of the seed industry.
    Though the Korea Seed Expo will be virtual, it will still feature all the elements of the in-person event, including variety demonstrations, booths and business meetings. Also attending are 72 seed-related companies showing their varieties and products.



  • SIP 2020 (November 2 – 6, 2020): Another interesting event happening from the 2nd – 6th of November 2020, The Seed Industry Program 2020 (SIP 2020), hosted by Cornell University and Sathguru.
    The upcoming web-based live training event is an intensive 5-day program which will cover key areas such as Trends and Strategies, Research and Technology Management, Regulations, Marketing & Market Access. This program offers an excellent platform for Cross Cultural and Cross Enterprise Learning, Interaction with world renowned Faculty and Lectures, Group Exercises & Case Study Analysis and Discussion.
    We are happy to announce that all APSA Members will be offered a Special 20% discount. For more information or if you wish to register for the event, please visit


  • 26th Harbin Seed Expo (November 4 – 6, 2020)
    This year’s exhibition has set up four exhibition areas of field seeds, vegetable seeds, pesticides and fertilizers and agricultural machinery. There is an estimate that over 1200 exhibitors and 170,000 visitors will attend this year.
    APSA’s Virtual Technical Session 2020 (November 23 – 25, 2020):  Also happening in the month of November will be APSA’s Virtual Technical Session, taking place from November 23 – 25th. Details on the individual sessions in Technical Affairs section above and see the full agenda here.  If any APSA member wishes to attend, please make sure to register yourself. To register, please go here (member login required.)


  • APSA Annual General Meeting 2020 (November 26, 2020): On November 26 will be APSA’s Annual General Meeting. This will be held online. Details regarding the Virtual AGM will be sent directly to our members.


  • ASTA’s CSS & Seed Expo Virtual (December 7 – 9, 2020): The ASTA CSS & Seed Expo 2020 will be held December 7 - 9, 2020 in a virtual trade show format. Join the American seed industry's largest exhibition event which will feature a new virtual opportunity for participating exhibitors to reach a larger audience than ever before. Click here for more details and to register. 


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Seed Quote of the Month

"Through violence, you may 'solve' one problem, but you sow the seeds for another"

Dalai Lama -



Social Media



Attention all #rice and #maize farmers, breeders, scientists and enthusiasts alike: Don't miss our upcoming #FieldCrops...

Posted by APSA: The Asia and Pacific Seed Association on Monday, October 19, 2020



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