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The Seed Industry in Pakistan
Regulation, Politics and
Entrepreneurship
Ahsan Rana
September 2013
Historical Development
Four distinct phases:
• 1947 – 1950s
– Small scale R&D; focus on a few crops
• 1950s – mid 1970s
– State-led development of an elaborate network of
research institutes, extension departments and
supplies agencies
• Mid 1970s – mid 1990s
– Legal and institutional development; growth in public
sector infrastructure for seed provision
• Mid 1990s – to date
– Growth of the private sector; shift of several seed
supply functions to seed companies
The Size and Structure
• Pakistan has a large seed industry*
– Estimated at US$ 845 million in 2008-09
– Potentially US$ 1.56 billion if 100% seed is replaced
• Seed provided by a mix of public and private
sector
• Variety development still mainly in the public
sector; but private sector is now the lead player
in seed multiplication, import and distribution
*Source: Hussain 2011
Certified Seed (2011-12)
Crop Total seed
requirement
(metric ton)
Certified seed
as proportion
of total
requirement
Private sector’s
share of total
certified seed
Imported seed
as a proportion
of total
certified seed
Wheat 1,085,400 24 72 -
Rice 42,480 81 86 22
Maize 31,914 39 98 85
Cotton 40,000 14 100 -
Potato 372,725 1 98 97
Pulses 47,496 3 72 -
Oilseeds 10,582 12 95 85
Vegetables 5,070 108 100 94
Fodder 40,138 33 100 100
Source: Data from Federal Seed Certification and Registration Department (FSC&RD)
Certified Seed (Contd.)
• Certified seed only about 20% of the total requirement
• Certified seed is provided by:
– Private companies
– State seed corporations
• NGOs and farmers’ cooperatives provide a negligibly
small volume in Pakistan.
• Share of certified seed gradually growing for most
crops:
1995-96 2011-12
Wheat 8% 24%
Rice 6% 81%
Maize 10% 39%
Source: FSC&RD data and Salam 2012
Private Seed Companies
• 755 registered seed companies
– 5 are multinational
• Monsanto, Pioneer, Bayer, ICI and Syngenta
• None has a significant local R&D program
• Mostly import hybrid seed of maize, sunflower, fodder, canola,
alfalfa and sorghum
– 750 are national
• 82% located in Punjab, but also serve other provinces
• Most established during the last two decades
• Number still growing (418 new companies registered during
2005-13)
• Now also into variety development: 10 out of 17 Bt cotton
varieties developed by national seed companies
• Horizontal and vertical integration taking place
• Financing from a variety of sources
The Informal Sector
• Around 80% of the seed is provided by the informal sector
comprising:
– Private seed companies
– Breeders
– Farmers
• For cotton, their respective shares in Sindh province in 2012
were:*
– Formal sector – 14%
• All provided by seed companies
– Informal sector - 86%
*Source: Rana et al. 2012
Seed
companies
69%
Breeders
15%
Other
farmers
8%
Farmer-saved
seed
6%
Others
2%
The Informal Sector (Contd.)
• Very large informal sector mainly due to the
archaic legal framework
– Bureaucratic and lengthy procedures
– Variety registration or seed certification add little
value to seed business
– Weak enforcement of seed laws
• Consequently, companies often market their new
varieties without registering them with FSC&RD
– Such seed often sold under company label
– Brand names have started to emerge
– Uncertified seed is not necessarily of poor quality
The Legal Framework
• Seed sector regulated by the Seed Act of 1976
– Does not provide for registration of seed companies
– Envisages minimal role for the private sector
– Seed (Registration) Rules of 1987 prohibit production
of seed of unapproved varieties
– Seed certification is voluntary for seed of approved
varieties.
– Variety registration does not confer any right on the
breeder.
• In the absence of IPRs, seed of even registered varieties is
produced and sold by several companies under their label.
– Farmer seed saving neither restricted nor regulated.
Reforming the Legal Regime
• Draft amendment to Seed Act of 1976
– Requires seed business to register with FSC&RD
– Prohibits sale of uncertified seed or seed of
unapproved varieties
• Draft Punjab Seed Act of 2011
– Aims to support a vibrant seed industry
– Vests powers in a broad-based Seed Council
– Requires only scheduled crops to be regulated
• Other crops can be sold under a truth-in-labelling regime
• Both proposals extend regulatory oversight to the private sector
• Both do not create IPRs
• Private sector’s response has been lukewarm
Reforming the Legal Regime (Contd.)
• Draft Plant Breeders’ Rights Act
– First draft prepared in 1999 to meet TRIPS requirements
– Based on UPOV 1999 model law
– Provides for registration of varieties provided they meet
DUS criteria and are novel
• VCU dispensed with; thus allows breeders to register ‘new’, rather
than ‘useful’ varieties
– Registration also available for EDVs
– Registration confers IPRs for 20 years (25 years for trees
and vines)
– Farmers’ right to save seed protected
• Unfortunately, the PBR Bill is still pending with the government.
• Seed companies not pushing it vigorously, as they are unsure of state’s ability to
enforce IPRs and want to continue to use others’ material in their breeding
programs.
Recommendations
• Reform the archaic seed sector legislation
– Draft Punjab Seed Act can be a good starting point
– Enact PBRs without further delay
• Bring the focus to the informal sector
– More research
– Support to farmers in seed saving
• Rethink the conceptualisation of the formal and the
informal
– In the current paradigm, formal sector is certified seed of
approved varieties provided by registered seed business
– In a new paradigm, it can be seed provided by registered
companies under their own label.
– Pakistan needs to move from a regime characterised by official
sanction to a regime characterised by farmers’ choice.
Thanks

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The seed sector in Pakistan- Ahsan Rana

  • 1. The Seed Industry in Pakistan Regulation, Politics and Entrepreneurship Ahsan Rana September 2013
  • 2. Historical Development Four distinct phases: • 1947 – 1950s – Small scale R&D; focus on a few crops • 1950s – mid 1970s – State-led development of an elaborate network of research institutes, extension departments and supplies agencies • Mid 1970s – mid 1990s – Legal and institutional development; growth in public sector infrastructure for seed provision • Mid 1990s – to date – Growth of the private sector; shift of several seed supply functions to seed companies
  • 3. The Size and Structure • Pakistan has a large seed industry* – Estimated at US$ 845 million in 2008-09 – Potentially US$ 1.56 billion if 100% seed is replaced • Seed provided by a mix of public and private sector • Variety development still mainly in the public sector; but private sector is now the lead player in seed multiplication, import and distribution *Source: Hussain 2011
  • 4. Certified Seed (2011-12) Crop Total seed requirement (metric ton) Certified seed as proportion of total requirement Private sector’s share of total certified seed Imported seed as a proportion of total certified seed Wheat 1,085,400 24 72 - Rice 42,480 81 86 22 Maize 31,914 39 98 85 Cotton 40,000 14 100 - Potato 372,725 1 98 97 Pulses 47,496 3 72 - Oilseeds 10,582 12 95 85 Vegetables 5,070 108 100 94 Fodder 40,138 33 100 100 Source: Data from Federal Seed Certification and Registration Department (FSC&RD)
  • 5. Certified Seed (Contd.) • Certified seed only about 20% of the total requirement • Certified seed is provided by: – Private companies – State seed corporations • NGOs and farmers’ cooperatives provide a negligibly small volume in Pakistan. • Share of certified seed gradually growing for most crops: 1995-96 2011-12 Wheat 8% 24% Rice 6% 81% Maize 10% 39% Source: FSC&RD data and Salam 2012
  • 6. Private Seed Companies • 755 registered seed companies – 5 are multinational • Monsanto, Pioneer, Bayer, ICI and Syngenta • None has a significant local R&D program • Mostly import hybrid seed of maize, sunflower, fodder, canola, alfalfa and sorghum – 750 are national • 82% located in Punjab, but also serve other provinces • Most established during the last two decades • Number still growing (418 new companies registered during 2005-13) • Now also into variety development: 10 out of 17 Bt cotton varieties developed by national seed companies • Horizontal and vertical integration taking place • Financing from a variety of sources
  • 7. The Informal Sector • Around 80% of the seed is provided by the informal sector comprising: – Private seed companies – Breeders – Farmers • For cotton, their respective shares in Sindh province in 2012 were:* – Formal sector – 14% • All provided by seed companies – Informal sector - 86% *Source: Rana et al. 2012 Seed companies 69% Breeders 15% Other farmers 8% Farmer-saved seed 6% Others 2%
  • 8. The Informal Sector (Contd.) • Very large informal sector mainly due to the archaic legal framework – Bureaucratic and lengthy procedures – Variety registration or seed certification add little value to seed business – Weak enforcement of seed laws • Consequently, companies often market their new varieties without registering them with FSC&RD – Such seed often sold under company label – Brand names have started to emerge – Uncertified seed is not necessarily of poor quality
  • 9. The Legal Framework • Seed sector regulated by the Seed Act of 1976 – Does not provide for registration of seed companies – Envisages minimal role for the private sector – Seed (Registration) Rules of 1987 prohibit production of seed of unapproved varieties – Seed certification is voluntary for seed of approved varieties. – Variety registration does not confer any right on the breeder. • In the absence of IPRs, seed of even registered varieties is produced and sold by several companies under their label. – Farmer seed saving neither restricted nor regulated.
  • 10. Reforming the Legal Regime • Draft amendment to Seed Act of 1976 – Requires seed business to register with FSC&RD – Prohibits sale of uncertified seed or seed of unapproved varieties • Draft Punjab Seed Act of 2011 – Aims to support a vibrant seed industry – Vests powers in a broad-based Seed Council – Requires only scheduled crops to be regulated • Other crops can be sold under a truth-in-labelling regime • Both proposals extend regulatory oversight to the private sector • Both do not create IPRs • Private sector’s response has been lukewarm
  • 11. Reforming the Legal Regime (Contd.) • Draft Plant Breeders’ Rights Act – First draft prepared in 1999 to meet TRIPS requirements – Based on UPOV 1999 model law – Provides for registration of varieties provided they meet DUS criteria and are novel • VCU dispensed with; thus allows breeders to register ‘new’, rather than ‘useful’ varieties – Registration also available for EDVs – Registration confers IPRs for 20 years (25 years for trees and vines) – Farmers’ right to save seed protected • Unfortunately, the PBR Bill is still pending with the government. • Seed companies not pushing it vigorously, as they are unsure of state’s ability to enforce IPRs and want to continue to use others’ material in their breeding programs.
  • 12. Recommendations • Reform the archaic seed sector legislation – Draft Punjab Seed Act can be a good starting point – Enact PBRs without further delay • Bring the focus to the informal sector – More research – Support to farmers in seed saving • Rethink the conceptualisation of the formal and the informal – In the current paradigm, formal sector is certified seed of approved varieties provided by registered seed business – In a new paradigm, it can be seed provided by registered companies under their own label. – Pakistan needs to move from a regime characterised by official sanction to a regime characterised by farmers’ choice.