Research and Support Services in Seed Production and Supply in Nepal

Type Report
Title Research and Support Services in Seed Production and Supply in Nepal
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2015
Seed system is one of the most vital components of agricultural system that serves as an
important element in strategies for agricultural development, biodiversity conservation and
poverty reduction. A strong and effective research and support system is essential to develop and
rapidly deploy quality seeds of a wide range of competent choice varieties to farmers. Recently
production and supply of seeds is increasing in formal sector in Nepal with a surge of community
based and contract seed production led by community groups and private seed companies
respectively. The role of private sector is evolving and emerging rapidly with its higher share in
the production of commercial seeds and making availability of hybrid varieties in rice, maize
and vegetables. The public sector is dominating in supply of varieties and seeds of OPVs
including source seed production and supply of major food crops (rice, wheat, maize). Public
sector is still a major player for agricultural research and provision of source seeds and support
services (subsidies, extension services etc.) including quality assurance services in the country.
Despite these positive outlook and initiatives, presently the available options for quality seeds of
new competent farmer preferred varieties are limited at the farm level. Available seed varieties
supplied in the market, adopted and used by farmers in major food crops are very old that were
mostly released during 1990s. Furthermore, the source seeds produced by public research
stations and farms are not adequately linked to seed multiplication and marketing chains of the
private sectors to multiply and market subsequent cycle of certified and improved seeds. The
current research and extension services and public support measures are also inadequate,
poorly targeted and ineffective in meeting the quality seed needs of choice varieties to the
farmers. Private sector participation and investment in varietal research and development is
also limited to meet the diverse seed needs of farmers and stakeholders.
Decentralized production of source seeds and maintenance of varieties in different domains and
locations by strengthening private sector’s capacity in source seed production and marketing
can reduce mis-match in demand and supply and enhance efficiency in production and supply of
quality seeds of improved varieties. Similarly, increase availability of competitive varieties and
breeding materials through fast track development of crop varieties, development of incentives
and legal mechanism for variety development and devolution of source seed production may help
improve private sector investment in R &D. In this context strategic efforts and action plans are
needed to promote investment in R &D for development and delivery of competent farmer
preferred varieties and hybrids. Promoting the development of a strong, dynamic and
sustainable seed sector in Nepal will require adoption of public-private partnership in R &D
with a coordinated effort between the public and private sectors, where the roles of public and
private sector may differ across crops, value chains, production systems and stage of seed
industry development. The partnership modality needs to consider the current context and future
development that requires use of integrated seed system linking both formal and informal system
and use of market and non-market channels. The public sector needs to invest more in plant
breeding, varietal maintenance and production of early generation seeds (breeder seed),
particularly for open-pollinated varieties of self-pollinated food crops, while private sector
research and investment are to focus on hybrids and high value crops that are more efficiently
carried out by private sectors.

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