India and Bangladesh need to formalise bilateral trade in rice seeds as local farmers on both side of the border are using them for cultivation through illegal channels.
India and Bangladesh need to formalise bilateral trade in rice seeds as local farmers on both side of the border are using them for cultivation through illegal channels, says a study.
“At present, the cooperation between India and Bangladesh in the area of rice seed is almost negligible. Despite several instances of informal movement of high yeilding variety (HYV) rice seed across the border, formal trade is conspicuous by its absence,” said the CUTS International study.
The availability and accessibility of rice seeds can be significantly improved through cooperation between the two countries, it said. Currently, HYV rice seeds can be imported only for trial purposes and the quantity of import is limited. Lack of harmonisation in seeds laws, policies, regulation and standards besides the issues related to intellectual property rights are key trade barriers between the two nations.
The study said: “The issue of timely availability and accessibility of HYV rice seeds persists. This leads to informal flow of substantial quantity of HYV seeds.”
Some of Bangladeshi varieties of rice seeds popular on the Indian side are – Br-11, BRRI Dhan-28 and BRRI Dhan-29. The Indian rice seeds varieties popular in Bangladesh are – Swarna (including Guti and Sada), Parijat, Somsor, Swampa and Mamum among others, it said.
The certified rice seeds of Swarna and Miniket variety from India are sold to the farmers in the informal market at Bangladeshi Taka (Tk) 60 per kg, where they are being bought from India at half the amount Tk 30 per kg, it added.
The study observed that on both the countries, the public sector is dominant in supplying HYV rice seeds and due to inefficiencies prevailing in the public bodies, the supply falls short of the total demand leaving a gap to be either filled by farmers’ saved seeds or informal flow within and across the border.
To improve availability and accessibility, the study suggested that there is a need to identify and test HYV rice seed available in one or both the countries that could be adaptable in the two countries. If a particular rice seed variety is found useful, allow it for commercial cultivation in one or both the countries.
That apart, there is also a need for collaboration in research activities, harmonisation of seed laws and regulations, it added. India, the world’s second biggest producer, is estimated to harvest 106.19 million tonnes of rice in 2013-14 crop year (July-June).
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