Demand outstrips seed production, supply

Lalitpur, July 4

Farmers are forced to spend their hard-earned money on costly imported seeds as the home front has failed to produce enough quality seeds of food grains and vegetables.

Seed business in Nepal is estimated to be at around Rs 270 million, of which seeds worth Rs 139 million are imported. National Seed Committee director Nandu Jha said farmers are compelled to pay higher price for imported seeds as seed production within the country is far less than the demand quantum.

Jha said little research has been done on hybrid seed production in Nepal and very few varieties have been released by the authorities for cultivation.

National Agriculture Research Council (NARC) senior scientist Bholaman Singh Basnet said only five per cent of the farmers use new and improved seeds of food crops while the rest use seeds that they select on their own from the old crop.

Basnet said NARC had been recommending many varieties of seeds of food grains and vegetable crops along with the cultivation method.

However, farmers are compelled to depend on imported seeds as the seeds of the recommended varieties are not to be found in the local market in the desired quantities.

He said NARC was responsible only for research on seeds and recommending or releasing the varieties for cultivation and that it was not responsible for production of seeds in desired quantities. He added that National Seed Company Ltd was responsible for production and distribution of certified seeds.

The department of agriculture is also reportedly doing little to expand the technology for the recommended seeds to the farmers. The other parameters remaining constant, scientists have said Nepal could see a 30 per cent rise in agriculture production if all farmers used improved seeds of recommended varieties of food grains and vegetable crops.