Press release: Asian national plant protection authorities discuss the gaps and capacity needs for boosting regional seed trade Vishwanath Sah May 30, 2023

Press release: Asian national plant protection authorities discuss the gaps and capacity needs for boosting regional seed trade

Bangkok: 22 May 2023: A new regional project on ‘Strengthening phytosanitary compliance and public-private partnerships to boost seed trade in the Asia Pacific region’, funded by the Standards and Trade Development Facility (STDF), aims to strengthen this collaboration to ensure harmonized policies and processes to effectively perform seed trade across the region.

From 22-23 May 2023, the project brings to Bangkok NPPO representatives from Bangladesh, Cambodia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Nepal, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam to discuss and consolidate the gap analysis in seed trade conducted earlier this year. The participants will also agree on plans to enhance their sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) capacities needed to boost regional seed trade.

Dr Jewel Rana, Additional Deputy Director (Export), Plant Quarantine Wing, Department of Agricultural Extension, Bangladesh said “ This workshop accurately addressed key challenges and set pragmatic solutions for seed trade in Bangladesh as well as for the Asia-Pacific Region. It also created a common platform for the NPPOs to share knowledge and work together to promote seed trade through public private partnerships”

Effective public-private partnership is crucial in Asia-Pacific seed trade since both sectors play an important role in the process. While the private sector carries out most seed production, the public sector, through their National Plant Protection Organizations (NPPOs), ensures safe imports and exports of seeds.

However, each country has different seed import requirements that need to be considered at the time of seed production and prior to export, for example, specific phytosanitary testing and declaration, as well as registration in the importing country. Ensuring full compliance with these requirements is often an issue, especially since any additional associated expenses need to be covered by seed companies, which may disincentivize further investment in the sector.

Ms Jessa Blesilda Antero, Senior Agriculturist, National Plant Quarantine Services Division, Bureau of Plant Industry, Philippines was of the view that “having this kind of workshop is a good opportunity for us to create awareness on regulations in seed movement. It was also a means to understand how the government can support the industry towards compliance. Creating awareness is promoting compliance.”

Since its launch in November 2022, the project conducted country assessments of current capacities and needs to ensure SPS requirements. The respective countries’ NPPOs provided feedback, which has been assessed and led to this workshop.

The envisioned capacity development will ensure that phytosanitary issues do not impede the trade of seeds between the countries involved and that phytosanitary capabilities are aligned with global standards. Countries’ capacities to collaborate will be strengthened through the process, to boost public-private trust and partnership that is much needed to make high quality seeds available for everyone, and thereby enhance food security in the region.

Ms Sounaly Somanny, Deputy Director of Plant Quarantine Division, Department of Agriculture, Laos PDR said “It was a great opportunity to meet with the NPPOs of six countries participating in this project. We deliberated on the gap analysis and capacity needs. We sincerely hope that through this project, our competency on safe seed movement across the globe will be greatly enhanced”

The Asia Pacific Association of Agricultural Research Institutions (APAARI) is the implementing partner of STDF. The Asia and Pacific Seed Alliance (APSA), the International Seed Federation (ISF), CropLife Asia (CLA) and the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) are the associated technical partners in this project.

APAARI is a membership-based, apolitical, multi-stakeholder, and intergovernmental regional organization that catalyzes collective action to improve agri-food research and innovation systems towards a more sustainable Asia-Pacific region.

STDF is a global partnership to facilitate safe trade, contributing to sustainable economic growth, poverty reduction and food security. It promotes improved food safety, animal and plant health capacity in developing countries.

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