Seed production for various crops must be prioritized

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  • The situation of the seed sector in Myanmar’s agricultural industry demands that it produces quality seeds. Good quality seeds are vital for the development of the agricultural sector.
    We have seen the dawn of the new era of seed production as the private, public and producers’ partnership, known as the PPPP system, has brought success to the sector.
    In the paddy seed production sector, farmers and private businesses worked together to produce quality paddies on about 10,000 acres in the 2016-2017 fiscal year. It is targeted to work the pilot programme again on nearly 70,000 acres in the 2017-2018 Fiscal Year.
    The Union Government has prioritized quality seed production, but it still cannot produce enough for farmers nationwide.
    To reach that goal, we urgently need to encourage seed production in not only paddies, but also a wide range of crops and to deliver quality seeds into the hands of farmers in a timely manner after taking steps for quality control of seeds.
    We all have understood the important role of quality seeds to produce quality crops. Regarding production of seeds, it is wrong to emphasize only paddy seed production. In the past, we saw that there was a weakness in production of other kinds of seeds.
    About 12 tonnes of watermelon and muskmelon seeds are required to be planted each year because of a lack of production, according to the Myanmar Fruit, Flower and Vegetable Producers and Exporters Association (MFVP).
    The country is incapable of producing the seeds required and is dependent only on imported seeds from foreign countries, the MFVP said. About 600,000 tonnes of watermelon seeds are imported from China annually. Myanmar’s vegetable production is still too weak to enter the highly competitive international market. Additionally, the technical requirements and the high cost of input pull the market profits down. The fruits and vegetables imported from neighbouring countries are found to dominate the supermarkets and fruit stalls in Yangon. Myanmar is not able to compete against them due to the lack of production and weakness in quality.
    It is believed that there were many businessmen who want to try their hand at seed production, but they have no capital. If the Union Government arranged to provide financial assistance to them as much as they need, this may be workable.
    Modern farming methods can reduce expenditure on seeds, but it requires skill and increased labour costs.
    Development of the seed production industry is very important, but it needs technology and foreign investment to produce enough seeds for our farmers nationwide.
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