Seed supply shortfall prompts invitation to private investors

As paddy is Myanmar’s staple food, farmers are engaged in cultivation of various species of paddy. Agriculturists concentrate production of quality paddy seeds to be supplied to farmers. Photo: Aye Min Soe
As paddy is Myanmar’s staple food, farmers are engaged in cultivation of various species of paddy. Agriculturists concentrate production of quality paddy seeds to be supplied to farmers. Photo: Aye Min Soe

Nay Pyi Taw, 10 March — In a bid to solve the ongoing problem of insufficient seed supply to farmers, the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation has invited private investors to enter the seed production sector, offering technical assistance for quality inspection and certification.
Local authorities should seek ways of inviting investors to develop region- and state-wise seed industries, said Deputy Minister for Agriculture and Irrigation U Tun Than.
The ministry can meet just 10 per cent of demand for rice seeds from farmers, according to an official.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation and local seed companies produced 7.25 million baskets of rice seeds in total for the rainy season cultivation of the 2014-2015 FY.
A number of foreign seed companies are operating with local companies under a joint venture system, importing and selling seeds in the country.
“In fact, foreign seed companies are willing to invest 100 per cent in the seed production sector. To do it, they need permission from Myanmar Investment Commission and legal protection for their own products,” said U Naing Kyi Lin, Deputy Director-General of the Agriculture Department of the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation.
Even with enactment of the Plant Variety Protection Bill, which has been sent to parliament for debate and would protect foreign and local seed companies, foreign firms’ stakes would still be limited by the Myanmar Investment Law, which requires them to have local investment partners.
“It would be OK if MIC (Myanmar Investment Commission) relaxed its rules for the seed production sector to a certain extent as an exception, allowing farmers to have good quality seeds, good harvests and good incomes,” he said.
Though the PVP law and the Copyright Law have not yet been enacted, the Myanmar Seed Law provides guarantees for registration and punishment for fraud, he added.
Around four local companies and foreign firms have formed joint ventures in the sector and are awaiting permission from the Myanmar Investment Commission to produce certified rice seeds in the country.
Some local companies are importing seeds of other crops and selling them in the country. GNLM

Share this post
Hot News
Hot News