Research proposes formal trade in rice seeds between India and Bangladesh

The Economic Times, June 05, 2014
A research paper has proposed that formal trade in rice seeds between India and Bangladesh could open up a tremendous market opportunity and improve livelihood of the farmers of both the countries.

The paper, based on a Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS) study, said that farmers of both the countries could immensely gain from the formalisation of trade in rice seeds which at present was smuggled out from India and Bangladesh.

Quoting the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), the paper said gains could be in terms of market opportunity estimated to be worth more than USD 20 million, improved crop yield and better livelihood.

S P Singh, policy analyst with CUTS which was a leading NGO which does studies on regional trade barriers and other issues, told reporters that research had shown that farmers from both the countries use rice seeds which were smuggled out.

“Farmers in West Bengal and certain other states use smuggled rice seeds from Bangladesh and vice versa,” Singh said.

Singh said if these exchanges were made through the formal route, both the countries could generate export earnings, besides engaging into R&D activity to improve the crop yield.

He said informally traded seeds were of poor quality which was affecting rice yields.

Singh said it was matter of policy advocacy by CUTS for both the governments to take note of and act accordingly.

According to him, there were no trade barriers between formal trading in rice seeds. What was required was sensitising both the governments, he said.

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