Newsletter: September 2020

Quality Seed | Quality Life

September 2020 Newsletter

Greetings from the APSA Secretariat! We hope you've had a productive summer/rainy season in the Northern Hemisphere, or Winter Down Under. Please find the full contents of this month's newsletter below, or you may find it more convenient to listen to the podcast instead.. 



Welcome to APSA’s September 2020 newsletter, marking the end of this year’s third quarter.. For those of you north of the Equator, we hope your past month’s labor has brought a bountiful monsoon/summer/kharif season harvest, and likewise for those Down Under, who are wrapping up bumper winter season crops. 

Speaking of Australia, New Zealand, and elsewhere in the South Pacific, the hard work continues as seedsmen secure stock for the upcoming spring season planting; likewise for our friends in South, West, and East Asia who will begin preparation for fall-winter / Rabi planting, when rice, wheat and other staple cereals will be sown. We wish everyone the best, all of our families are counting on you. 

For us at the APSA secretariat, it’s been a productive third quarter as we prepare for APSA’s most important time of the year. Members should have already received direct announcements about our Annual General Meeting, including details about the agenda and important documents. In the Events section below, we include some notes and reminders. 

Further more, we are also looking forward to our virtual Technical Sessions leading up to the AGM in November, with more details below. Aside from this, at the end of this Newsletter, we have included a link to this year’s Third Quarter issue of Asian Seed and Planting Material, which available initially and exclusively for APSA members, and will be released to the general public in a few weeks’ time. Please refer to the newsletter announcement email sent on September 20 for the password. Otherwise, feel free to email Member Coordination Manager, Mr. Komsak for the magazine password. 

More news from the Secretariat follows. Until next time! 

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Technical Affairs

It’s been a busy month for APSA’s Standing Committees and Special Interest Groups, whose focus has been on finalizing speakers for their virtual technical sessions, which will be held on November 23, 24 and 25. 

Following are some brief updates from each group and the topics planned:

The Standing Committee on International Trade & Quarantine (SC ITQ) is pleased to announce the appointment of Michael Leader from Bayer Crop Science as the committee's new chair. Mr Leader has been a very active member in the committee for many years. Based in Melbourne, Australia, he also serves as chair of ISF's Phytosanitary Committee and is the immediate Past President and current Board member of the Australian Seed Federation  

Furthermore, the SC ITQ is pleased to confirm the agenda for November's technical session, to include: Access To Seeds Index’s South and Southeast Asia Landscaping Report; a presentation on lab accreditation practices by the American Seed Trade Association; and an update from the OECD on COVID-19's seed sector impact.  

The Standing Committee on Intellectual Property Rights and Biodiversity is looking forward to discussing the topic of Digital Sequence Information (DSI) for genetic resources, which will include two showcase videos on this topic from the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and World Vegetable Center. Aside from this, there will also be a panel discussion on the “Barriers of UPOV 1991 acceptance” with representatives from Thailand, the Philippines, China and Australia. 

The Standing Committee on Seed Technology is working hard on preparation for its

upcoming technical session, which will focus on Genetic Purity Testing: Four expert speakers have been invited: one each from veg and field crop seed companies, one an academician and one from the International Seed Testing Association (ISTA).  

The newly-reformed Special Interest Group of Field Crops are still finalizing their topics and we will update you on this soon. Meanwhile, we are pleased to announce that all 10 members of the group have signed a Code of Conduct. In doing so, they are ready to move forward with activities in cooperation with the Working Group of Integrated Vegetable Seed Companies (WIC) subgroup of SIG Vegetables & Ornamentals (also see below). The first topic concerns Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), and aims at having SIG Field Crops and WIC members train employees to respect IP rights. APSA supports the idea and has coordinated with UPOV to organize a virtual 'Train the Trainer' program in October covering Plant Variety Protection (PVP) and Plant Breeders’ Rights (PBR) under the UPOV Convention. The training is exclusively for WIC and SIG Field Crops members who signed the Code of Conduct. Participants will be given pre-assignments and post-assignments to ensure they understand the course thoroughly and are able to share knowledge with employees later on. 

Last but not least, the Special Interest Group of Vegetables & Ornamentals (SIG V&O) will feature discussions a a variety of topics, including an overview of gene banks in Asia, crop wild relatives and their importance in climate-smart breeding, as well as the Systems Approach concept. Furthermore, the SIG’s subgroup, R&D Advisory Committee on Vegetables and Ornamentals also met this past month to discuss about the planning of 2021 APSA-World Vegetable Center Vegetable Breeding Consortium and the Asian Solanaceous Roundtable (ASRT) and Asian Cucurbit Roundtable (ACRT) in 2021. 

Stay tuned for more updates and details on these topics and more. 

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Following are some upcoming seed industry events: 

CrsiprCon (September – October)

CRISPRcon is a unique forum bringing diverse voices together to discuss the future of CRISPR and related gene editing technologies across applications in agriculture, health, conservation, and more. The event features two webinars every other week with moderated panels, short presentations, and virtual networking opportunities, as well as an online adaptation of CRISPRcon’s popular Ideas Marketplace. The sessions are free with registration. If you are interested in joining, please registry at

Euro Seeds Oct 2020 (October 11 – 13, 2020)

Due to the latest decisions on new restrictions in Malta in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Euro Seed has had to cancel its on-site congress. They have been working tirelessly over the last months on offering a fully-fledged Virtual Congress as an alternative. It will consist of a digital platform that will enable you to experience all the Congress elements such as an exhibition, trade, crop-specific Section meetings, and -last but not least- networking with friends and colleagues.

The Euro Seeds Virtual Congress will be held on October 11 – 13. More details can be found at

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

APSA’s Virtual Technical Session 2020

Also happening in the month of November will be APSA’s Virtual Technical Session, taking place from November 23 – 25th.

November 23, 2020

  • 12:00 - 14:00 ICT         Standing Committee on International Trade & Quarantine
  • 15:00 - 17:00 ICT         Standing Committee on Seed Technology

November 24, 2020

  • 15:00 – 17:30 ICT        Standing Committee on Intellectual Property Rights and Biodiversity

November 25, 2020

  • 12:00 - 14:00 ICT         Special Interest Group on Field Crops
  • 15:00 - 17:00 ICT         Special Interest Group on Vegetables & Ornamentals

If any member wishes to attend, please make sure to register yourself. For more information regarding the APSA Virtual Technical Session 2020, please visit the official APSA website at

APSA Annual General Meeting 2020

On November 26 will be APSA’s Annual General Meeting. This event will be held online. Details regarding the Virtual AGM will be sent directly to our members.

Chinese Seed Expos:

To close, I would like to mention all the remaining Chinese Seed Expos that will be held this year.

Oct 15-17  Tianjin International Seed Expo,  Xiqing District, Tianjin City

Oct 21-23   The Second Xingtai International Cruciferous Vegetable Industry Congress. This event will feature cruciferous vegetable forum, variety evaluation, professional introduction and a field demonstration with more than 2000 varieties of cruciferous vegetable crops from around the world.  

Oct 23-25   The Second Zhengzhou Seed Expo & 5th Zhongyuan Seed Science & Technology Expo

Nov 4-6      Harbin Seed Industry Expo

Dec 9-13    Guangdong Seed Expo

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News Round-up



Following are some major headlines from throughout the region and world:

Dr Richards elected co-chair of IPPCC ePhoto IAG: Dr Rose Souza Richards, ISF Seed Health Manager, has been elected co-chair of the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) ePhyto Industry Advisory Group (IAG). Dr Souza Richards will serve with Ms Alejandra Danielson Castillo of the International Grains Trade Coalition (IGTC) to lead this international group. More details here. 

Leading retailer bans sale of seeds from outside of US: Online retailer, Amazon has reportedly banned the sale of foreign seeds to its customers in the United States. The news follows reports of unsolicited seed packets being sent to residents in the US (as well as many other countries, as reported by APSA here). According to a report by the New York Times, Amazon, updated has advised all of its foreign sellers that it “would no longer allow the import into the U.S. of plant or seed products.” 

FAO Report highlights rising global food costs: According to a Sept 3 report from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), global food prices rose for the third consecutive month in August. The rise was attributed to “firmer demand and a weaker U.S. dollar. The FAO Food Price Index, which tracks the international prices of the most commonly traded food commodities, rose by 2% in August from July, and thus reached its highest level since February. Read full report here

China food prices spike by 11%: According to figures released b China’s Bureau of Statistics, as reported here on CNBC, China food prices in August rose 11.2% from the same month in 2019. The rise was attributed to high pork prices, which could be linked to the African swine fever outbreak.

ASF elects new president, OB at Annual General Meeting: Members of the Australian Seed Federation (ASF) elected Mr Tim Pepper of  Barenbrug Australia as the association’s new President and Chair of the Board of Directors. According to an announcement in ASF’s August newsletter, Tim was elected during ASF's Annual General Meeting held online on August 19. For full details, see also story on APSA’s website here

India GE regulator approves of Bt brinjal trials: India's central regulator, the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee, has given approval for confined field trials of two new Indian-developed transgenic varieties of Bt brinjal (eggplant). The approval allows for trials to be carried out in eight States -- Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Bihar, Chhattisgar, Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu, Odisha and West Bengal -- during 2020-2023 period as part of biosafety evaluation processes. The varieties were developed by the National Institute for Plant Biotechnology. More information here

Seed Association of Pakistan elects new Chair: Choudhary Asif Ali, has been elected as Chairman of the Seed Association of Pakistan (SAP) for the 2020-2021 term.  The news was announced following the association meeting in September. This is the second time for Choudhary to assume the highest seat of the association, having previously held the same position during the 2016-2017 term. More details here.

Stay tuned for more regional and global seed industry news.

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Asian Seed Magazine: Volume 26, Issue 3


Download Issue Now (Password Required)


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Seed Quote of the Month

"As long as there shall be stones, the seeds of fire will not die"

Lu Xun -


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