On the trajectory to seed exports

The demand for seeds is rising in Myanmar as farmers have switched to hybrid seeds which can give higher yields compared with traditional seeds.

Now, Myanmar needs to boost production of quality seeds to cater to local demand and to become a seed exporting country.

To get higher yields and incomes, our farmers need access to quality seeds for which the country needs to be self-sufficient in seed production. To achieve this, cooperation between the government, private seed producers, and cooperatives is sine qua non. Only then can all sectors benefit from the farmlands.

As the demand for seeds is high, low-quality and illegal seeds can flow into the market or reach the doors of farmers. Although the Seed Law allows businessmen to sell seeds with approval from the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Irrigation that guarantees their quality, farmers often fall prey to illegal players in the market.

For instance, purchase of low-quality rice seeds caused problems for farmers in Dabayin Township last year, with rice output declining in more than 1,400 acres of farms. Finally, the matter was brought before the authorities and the company that supplied the seeds to farmers agreed to compensate them.

Increasing the production of seeds is necessary to prevent shortages, especially when it comes to seasonal fruits. Many farmers in Sagaing Region could not grow muskmelons due to a shortage of seeds, which led to a 70-per-cent decrease in production of the fruit last year.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Irrigation has formed inspection teams for checking the quality of agricultural inputs such as seeds, fertilizers, and pesticides. There are 17 teams at the region and state level, 67 at the district level, and 291 at the township level.

The teams are inspecting agricultural inputs in accordance with laws such as the Seed Law, the Fertilizer Law, and the Pesticide Law, and reporting violations to superior bodies.

The authorities are urged to disseminate knowledge regarding the Seed law among farmers, educate them about the importance of using legal inputs and how to use them in the correct way.

They must ask farmers to keep records and evidence of seed packets they use because farmers have the right to sue seed companies if they suffer losses due to poor quality seeds.

At the same time, private seeds producers and farmers must work more closely and present their concerns to the government so it can reform polices, paving the way for private businessmen to overcome challenges.

Source: Global New Light of Myanmar

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