Seed associations of India and Bangladesh on April 30 signed a cooperation agreement to initiate cross-border trade in high-yielding variety (HYV) rice seeds that will also enable knowledge-sharing in their production and trade.
A Memorandum of Understanding for this purpose was signed here between the Bangladesh Seeds Association and the National Seed Association of India.
There is currently no formal trade between both countries in HYV rice seeds, but there much movement through informal channels in this low-value, high-volume trade that is nevertheless of importance to the food security of the region.
While a protocol has been recently signed between India, Bangladesh and Nepal creating the possibility for the release of seed varieties developed by one country in others, Thursday’s MoU marks a definitive step closer to formalisation of rice seeds trade and knowledge-sharing.
The MoU event saw the report dissemination of a two-year-long research and advocacy project by CUTS International on “Addressing barriers to rice seeds trade between India and Bangladesh” carried out with support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
“This is an attempt to make the informal trade in rice seeds legal. Since varieties released in India are notified, the attempt is to harmonise the notifications with Bangladesh and Nepal,” Rajesh Kumar Singh, joint secretary (seeds) in the agriculture ministry told IANS on the sidelines of the event.
“This way we’ll end up saving three years that is otherwise taken up by trials. We have tried to regulate more of this trade so that farmers in both countries have access to better quality seeds,” he added.
“The situation calls for analysing factors that can enable the formalisation of rice seeds trade and knowledge-sharing,” Deputy High Commissioner of Bangladesh Salahuddin Noman Chowdhury said in his address.