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India can emerge as global seed hub, Minister Parshottam Rupala tells tech congressqrcode

Sep. 19, 2019

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Sep. 19, 2019
(From left) Michael Keller, Secretary General, ISF; Parshottam Rupala, Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare; Pius Dunaiski, High Commissioner of Namibia; and MJ Khan, Chairman, ICFA

India has the potential to emerge as a global seed hub, said Union Minister of State for Agriculture Parshottam Rupala, exhorting the seed sector to take advantage of the market opportunity to boost exports.

Speaking at the inaugural of Seed World 2019, the world seed trade and technology congress, in Bengaluru on Wednesday, Rupala said the government is keen to boost farm sector exports and develop the seed sector.

Seed exports

He called upon the industry to come out with suggestions that could help develop the seed sector and to increase exports. The demand for organic products is on the rise globally and only India has the potential to tap such a demand, he said.

Rupala said the government is keen on introducing the Seeds Bill, to regulate the sector in the next session of Parliament. He called upon the industry to help address the issue of fake seeds and create awareness about certified seeds among the farming community.

Research and development efforts of the seed sector should also focus on incorporating the high-yielding characteristics in the varietal seeds, Rupala said. Also, there is a need to create a mechanism to estimate the real-time demand and supply of seeds in various States, he added.

Michael Keller, Secretary General, International Seed Federation, emphasised the need for more public-private collaboration in seed production. Research and development in seed sector entails huge investment and public breeding is slowing down in many countries, Keller said.

Seed producers have big responsibility to provide improved seeds to farmers as it is the most critical input for food production. To feed the rising population from limited land resources, improving the production capacity is crucial. Seed sector, one of the most regulated sectors in the world, is looking for science-based regulatory approach, Keller said.

The seed business needs protection as it entails a lot of investment. The production of seeds is not going to be sustainable if protection is not provided, Keller said, stressing the need for implementation of UPOV Convention and plant breeders’ right.

MJ Khan, Chairman, Indian Council of Food and Agriculture, said the India Seed Forum, a body of industry representative and academia among others, has been set up to promote the India brand seeds.

The seed market in India stood at $4.1 billion in 2018 and is expected to register a compounded annual growth of 13.6 per cent during 2019-24 to reach $9.1 billion by 2024, a report released on the occasion said. Besides rising domestic demand, the demand of quality seeds in various countries, mainly South East Asia, is driving the growth of the Indian seed industry.

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