The seed sector in Bangladesh- Anwarul Quader Shaikh
REGIONAL STRATEGIC ANALYSIS AND KNOWLEDGE
SUPPORT SYSTEM FOR ASIA (ReSAKSS- ASIA)
AGRICULTURAL TRANSFORMATION IN ASIA : POLICY OPTIONS FOR FOOD
AND NUTRITION SECURITY
SIEM REAP, CAMBODIA; 25-27 SEPT. 2013
SEED SECTOR DEVELOPMENT IN BANGLADESH : POLICY CONSTRAINTS AND
IMPEDIMENTS TO IMPLEMENTATION
ANWARUL QUADER SHAIKH
Plant Breeder, Specialist in Research Mgmt & Seed, Agricultural Development and
Former Director General, Bangladesh Institute of Nuclear Agriculture, and
Vice-President, Bangladesh Academy of Agriculture.
1. THE SEED SCENARIO
• The seed scenario in Bangladesh is far from ideal.
• Large gap exists between Requirement & Supply of Quality Seed
• In 2011-2012, Requirement - 932, 250 MT; Supply - 186, 450 MT
i.e. only 20% of the total need.
• Public sector QS was 15.47%, Private Sector (PS) 4.53% & balance
80% was farmers' own seeds, quality of which was unknown or
• Public sector has been plagued with various constraints needing
immediate actions in institutional reforms, revamping & major
• PS seed production but has a long way to go both in terms of
quantity & quality due to many shortcomings.
• Assessment and redressing of the shortcomings impeding growth
of PS are urgently needed.
• Farmer’s knowledge & facilities for production, processing and
preservation of QS are highly inadequate calling for immediate
2. KEY PLAYERS IN THE SEED SECTOR
(1) PUBLIC SECTOR
1.1 Ministry of Agriculture (MoA): The Highest body for Regulating the Seed Sector
through its Seed Wing.
1.2 National Seed Board (NSB) : Main functions include; Advising Govt. on
Implementation of Rules & Policies, Quality Control, Establishing of Seed Standards,
Variety Release & Notification.
1.3 Seed Wing of MoA: Implements the Seed Related Policies, Rules & Acts.
1.4 Seed Certification Agency (SCA)
• Certifies seeds produced by the Public & Private Sectors through field verification
and Inspection of Seed Processing & Preservation Activities.
• Conducts laboratory Tests of seeds before placing certification tags.
• Monitors market, collects and tests seed lots imported through land, air & sea.
• Conducts pre-release DUS & VCU tests of candidate varieties before release.
1.5 Seed Promotion Committee (SPC) : Coordinates all the Activities of Production and
Supply of QS in the Public & Private Sectors.
1.6 Technical Committee (TC) : Advices NSB regarding to Variety Development, Release
Key Players (Continued)
1.7 Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation (BADC)
• BADC is the largest seed producer and supplier in the country.
• Provides technical support to PS, NGOs and Farmers through training & providing
services for seed processing, preservation and quality control on a highly limited
scale compared to need due to its shortcomings.
• BADC multiplies BS of ARIs as FS and TLS.
1.8 Department of Agricultural Extension(DAE):
• The Plant Protection Wing of DAE administers Quarantine Rules and Regulations
and provides quarantine services and phyto-sanitary certificates for importing and
exporting plants and plant product.
1.9 Agricultural Research Institutes (ARIs) : BARI, BRRI, BINA, BJRI & BSRI develop
improved varieties of crops which are released and registered by the NSB.
• ARIs produce and maintain BS of crops & supply to both public and PS agencies for
multiplication as FS & TLS.
• The TLS are sold to farmers as QS by BADC and PS.
2. THE PRIVATE SECTOR (PS):
• Private Sector Enterprises (PSEs) include Seed Companies, Merchants, Traders,
Dealers and Retailers. The Bangladesh Seed Association is acting as their apex body.
• NGOs: More than 20 NGOs are involved in Seed Production and marketing.
3. SEED REGULATORY FRAMEWORK AND PITFALLS IN IT
• The legislative documents are : The Seed Ordinance 1977, The Seed
Policy 1993, The Seed (Amendment) Act 1997, The Seed Rules 1998,
The Seed (Amendment) Act 2005 and the Plant Quarantine Act 2011.
• The Documents of the Seed Regulatory Framework fall short in
almost all categories of seed management system including :
(1) Variety Development and Notification, (2) Maintenance breeding &
Breeder Seed (BS) supply, (3) Seed multiplication, (4) Seed processing
and preservation, (5) Quality control, and (6) Marketing.
• The National Seed Policy NSP 1993
• The provisions of NSP and their present position of implementation do
• Prices of BADC produced seeds are controlled by the Government.
• As a result, seed supply system has remained largely in the domain of
the public sector & PS has been discouraged to produced seed.
4. CHALLENGES CONFRONTING SEED SECTOR DEVELOPMENT
(1) Poor Innovative and Frontier Technology Application for Variety Development.
• Application of innovative and frontier Technology for seed sector development is
• Dearth of trained Scientists in innovative and frontier technology.
• Poor investment in facilities and infrastructure development in both public & private
(2) Persistently Low Seed Replacement Rate (SRR).
• Quality Seed was 12.61% in 2005-2006, has increased to 20% in 2011-2012.
• Quality SRR Seed must be increased tremendously.
• The private sector has a major role to play in the endeavour .
• The PS has to compete with the Public Sector to improve the SRR up to the desired
(3) Absence of Level Playing Field .
• The PS has to be strengthened in all possible ways to compete with the public sector.
• The PS should be provided with all the facilities envisioned in the NSP.
• Impediments to varietal development, seed testing, BS production & maintenance, TLS
production, seed distribution, marketing etc. are impeding the development of the PS.
• Reforms in policy and regulatory framework are necessary to remove/lessen these
CHALLENGES CONFRONTING SEED SECTOR DEVELOPMENT (Contd.)
(4) Anomalies In Seed Act, Rules & Policies
• The Seeds (Amendment) Act 2005 has restricted the PS to
develop new varieties of notified crops and their BS production.
This has created uneven regulatory privilege to the public sector.
This is contradictory to NSP provision for the PS.
• BADC's seed prices should reflect costs more closely and subsidies
should be phased out gradually as per NSP strategy.
• Promise of BADC’s help to PS in providing the necessary help for
fund, facilities and technical training has not been fulfilled
• Seed adulteration has become quite a common phenomenon. SCA
cannot cope with monitoring the huge marketing system of both
public and private sector.
• Inadequate BS supply due to inability of ARIs to produce adequate
quantity of BS. Absence of Breeder Seed Production Units (BSPU) is
the cause for it.
• Shortcomings of SCA like unrealistic linkage with DAE, faulty
organogram, shortage of fund, manpower & facilities, as per
provision of NSP have not been removed with due urgency.
5. ISSUES AND RECOMMENDATIONS
(1) In-Depth Review of the NSP & The Relevant Legislative Documents
• NSP is a comprehensive document for playing desirable activities to develop an useful
• The relevant legislative documents prepared later in the light of NSP do not express fully
the intensions of NSP, even contradicts them.
• These issues need in-depth review and analysis to develop useful recommendations
for improving the quantity of QS in the country.
(2) Creating Abundance of Varieties
• Regular flow of increased number of improved crop varieties is a pre-requisite to
develop an efficient and effective seed system.
• Restricting the PS from variety development and imposing strict release have virtually
slowed down the process of variety development.
• The speed of public sector variety development is slowed due to lack of trained
• Appropriate analysis of the situation is warranted to delineate the causes behind as
well as to develop ameliorative measures soonest possible.
(3) Correct Information on Seed
• There is dearth of dependable information on (a) quantity of QS being marketed and
(b) standard of quality of the seed used.
• The quality of used seed should be determined through regular survey (e.g. "Drill Box"
system used during the 1950s in the USA and Canada).
• MIS may be established for the seed system. Information should be sent regularly by
the stake-holders of the seed system to the MIS Center, who in turn, will analyze and
consolidate the info as well as publish it. All concerned should quote this centrally
ISSUES AND RECOMMENDATIONS (Continued)
4) Declaring Seed as Industry
• Agro-based and agro-processing enterprises, seed processing and storage
activities are included in the Industrial Policy -- and are enjoying many
financial facilities/exemptions. Other entities engaged in seed production
(Research and Development, Seed farm, Seed lab etc. should be declared
(5) Level-Playing Field
• Seed marketed by BADC is subsidized by the Govt. to the extent of 50-
100% in varying degrees with different seeds. BADC is selling seeds at less
than the cost price.
• The PSEs depend entirely on their own resources but have to market their
seed on cost price. This situation has distorted level playing field, and as
a result, impeding the growth of the PS. Review of the whole situation is
required to create level playing field in seed prices between the public
sector and the PS.
(6) Constraints of SCA
• The SCA is treated as an auxiliary branch of DAE, SCA staff are
"administered" by DAE, which hampers its development and functioning.
It should be taken out of DAE's sphere of unrealistic influence, made
independent with its own Sub-cadre as proposed in the NSP.