The overall performance of the seed sector is weak although there are some positive aspects that are emerging.The weakness of the sector can easily be captured by the low coverage of certified seed. Rice CS reach a minority of farmers who continue to have a low replacement ratio of their seed stock. Informal seed exchange system is predominant and formal seed system in rice hardly reaches 10% of the sown area. Yield gap (the difference between actual yield and potential remains high. More worryingly yield growth seems to be slowing down and there is the danger it might even reverse.At the same time, hybrids vegetable seed are thriving particularly with the emergence of private foreign and domestic seed companies investing in Myanmar. The agricultural sector is currently attracting the interest of various investors and with the formation of the MRF private companies got access to registered seeds from DoA for multiplication purposesThe Seed Law enaceted in 2011 has just come into force in 2013 and set the way for a number of initiatives that could lead to a dramatic development of the seed industry.
Yet, according to statistics, comparison with other countries in the region rice yields in Myanmar do not show too bad a picture. Myanmar seems to have higher average rice yields than Thailand, India, Cambodia; but less than Vietnam, Indonesia, and China. The most important comparison would be with Indonesia and Vietnam where most of the rice (differently from China) is HYV. Myanmar could catch up with this yield and increase its own yield by 30-40%.
Over this period yields and production of rice have grown up considerable. On average, rice yield grew by 2.2% which is a respectable rate. However, over the past few years, more specifically since 2007, yield growth seems to have slowed down a lot, to an average of 0.9%. The situation is alarming.The most recent estimates (not yet officially and therefore need to be taken with a grain of salt) would suggest that the growing yield trend has reversed recently. If that is true, then the average yield growth in most recent years has become negative. The issue of declining/negative yield growth might also be an artifact of the data. If data in the past were not properly estimated, then the conclusions about growth might be largely irrelevant. in light of some preliminary estimates of more recent yields.
In the current seed formal system, DAR is responsible for research and generation of breeder and foundation seeds. DOA is responsible for the registered seeds which are distributed either to private seed growers (about 5,000 distributed around the country) and, more recently, to private seed companies under the aegis of MRF. Multiplication of foundation seeds yields certified and good seeds that are then distributed to farmers and market. Most notable in this diagram is the absence of seed associations. The diagram also lacks the presence of coordination mechanisms such as Seed Working Group or Seed Tasking Force (different from Seed Committee which is in charge only of release of new varieties).
A number of private companies are currently working on seed for rice, hybrids (corn, rice, and vegetables).In the case of corn and vegetables there seems to be high interest in private company to engage in seed production. Less so is the case with rice. The implementation of the Seed Law might change this situation.
The main opportunities related to investment, partnerships, and coordination point to the possibility of LEVERAGING public investment manifolds through incentives to investment by the private sector, the cooperative sector, and communities. This will result in an expansion of use of good quality seeds (OPV, hybrids, and traditional varieties appropriate to certain agroecological environments), increased productivity, and increased resilience to pests, diseases, and climate change.
Need to look at constraints:In the supply side and in the demand side. Too often the demand side is dismissed
The key word here is INCENTIVES. Farmers might not use certified seed because there is no incentive to do that. The assumption is always that the issue is the supply: just produce more seeds and farmers will buy them. But seed by themselves without fertilizer, water, plant protection, and market available is not enough to be attractive to the farmer. The Seed Law is expected to lead to an improved system in which private sector incentives can work to the benefit of the overall system. Of course, in addition to regulations, hard core investment in critical areas is needed. Otherwise the law and regulations will remain just an unfulfilled promise.Another key issue is to distinguish between needs and demand. Needs often are based on technical recommendations of seed replacement (eg renewal every 3-4 crops); or seeding ratios and total sown area. Demand is based on the farmer actual conditions and willingness to buy. We need to change the supply of good seed, but we also need to understand what the farmers want, their incentives in buying or using certain seeds. For example, on technical ground, hybrid rice seed look great. But are those the seeds the farmers want? Studies in the tropic suggest caution. Demand is a function of several variables: Demand = f (price, access, knowledge, assets, physical properties, ….)
The initial emphasis on POLICY is appropriate. Unless the rules of the game are clear to the key actors, there is limited impact of investment and institutional development. Traditionally in Ministries of Agriculture all over the world there is an emphasis on investing money in public institutions. That is sometimes justified. But unless these investments are embedded in an overall strategy policy framework, there is the ever present danger that public sector investment might be inefficient, ineffective, and even counterproductive.
What are some examples of support mechanisms?For farmers: subsidies, vouchers, demonstrations, awards, matching grantsFor companies: matching grants, tax exemptions, tax incentives, lines of creditThe seed policy is really an implementation plan for the See Law. Given the important of rice in the seed industry, a rice policy is needed. This is of much bigger complexity than the seed sector. In particular, the rice policy should clearly articulate a strategy for Myanmar over the next 10 years. Trade regulations is really about quarantine control, sharing of standards with regional partners, and compliance with SPS.
Some of this investment will be primarily public (for example in the research for OPV rice varieties). In other cases, it might be a PPP (fore example laboratories and demonstrations). In other cases will be private (for example processing equipment, private warehouses)
Mechanisms for coordination: seed councils, commission, working groups, task forceAssociations: promote local, regional, and national associations and federations, possibly build from grass roots. Promote formation of seed nurseries associationsPart of quality assurance will be to certify nurseries and seed companies. Accompanying legislation should be provided to protect the interest of farmers who buy seed of poor quality (eg low germination, poor yield, lack of resistance to disease and pests, …). UPOV should strengthen the system of plant variety protection.Information about seed demand, supply, distribution is very much needed since in its absence, most of the discourse about policy is not based on reliable evidence.A M&E system will be needed to ensure proper implementation of policy.
The urgent tasks are those related to formulation of policy and allocation of resources for implementation of plans. Specific investments will be carried out over the first 5 years of the plan whereas institutional development will occur up to the long term.
They yellow line refer to policy implementation. The red lines to investments; and the white lines to institutions.
Presentation for Myanmar Policy Forum: Developing a Competitive Seed Industry in Myanmar
• Agriculture contributes about 32% of Myanmar’s GDP
• Myanmar has a huge potential to become a credible global food
• To attain this potential, Myanmar will need to intensify its
agriculture and enhance farm productivity and competitiveness
• This will require higher production and use of quality seeds and
the development of a competitive seed industry
• How is the seed sector performing?
• Hos is the seed sector changing?
Overall performance is weak but
positive features are emerging
- Certified seeds for rice cover less than 10% of sown area
- Yield gap still high
- Declining trend in yield growth
+ Hybrids growth (40% of vegetables area and 70% of corn area)
+ Growing foreign and domestic private sector investment
+ Partnerships between private sector and public sector in rice seed
+ Seed Law enacted in 2011 and come into force in 2013
Thailand India Myanmar Bangladesh Indonesia Vietnam China
RiceYield (mt/ha) Gaps in 2008
4.03 4.06 4.07
1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010
Average yield growth is
2.2% average 1998-2010
0.9% average 2007-2010
Department of Agricultural
Department of Agriculture
Certified Seeds and
Public Sector Private Sector Public/Private
• Seed Associations?
• Seed Working Groups?
• SeedTask Force?
• Seed Commission?
• Seed M&E?
Private Sector in the Seed Industry
Contract Farming Programs.
Company Main Seed Produced in
CP Company Hybrid Corn
KnownYou Seed Company Melons, Cucumber
Malar Myaing Vegetables Seeds
Myat Min Rice
Bayer Crop Science Hybrid Rice
Leveraging private sector investment and fostering
partnerships with private sector and communities to
increase productivity and gain competitiveness.
• Increased private investment (both domestic and foreign) in the industry
• Promote Public Private Partnerships with private sector and communities
• Between research and extension to create a demand-oriented research and extension
• Stronger coordination mechanisms among farmers, private sector, and public sector
(seed associations, community-based seed production and seed banks, seed
contracts, seed certification, seed information systems)
Low Use of Certified Seed
The combination of limited implementation of the Seed Law
with underinvestment in the critical areas of
research, extension, quality assurance, coordination, and
• How to move from formulation to implementation (from Seed Law to
Seed Industry Development)
• How to provide incentives to farmers for use of certified seed and for
private sector to invest
• Underfunded research and extension (1-2% of MOAI budget)
• Low capacity in quality assurance
• Lack of coordination (private-public, center-local, domestic-
• Lack of information about seed demand and distribution
• How to go from constraints to opportunities?
• What needs to be done now and later?
• Laboratories (research and inspection)
investment by private
•Information and M&E
POLICY INVESTMENT INSTITUTIONS
a. Seed Policy
b. Rice Policy
c. Trade Policy
a. Seed farm
a. Membership of
a. Laboratories a. Seed associations
b. Quality assurance
b. Market information
Activities Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5 Year 6 Year 7 Year 8 Year 9 Year 10
performance is still weak positive
features are emerging
leverage the experience and resources of the private sector and
correct for the underinvestment