SEARCA and DA-BPI to formulate five-year seed industry development program of the Philippines

  • By Stella Faye B. Estrella
  • 29 July 2022, Friday

Seed plays a key role in agriculture, specifically in improving crop production and food security. It can also help in supporting farmers’ livelihood through increased yield and income. However, with the rapid onset of climate change and slow economic development, the food supply of the country is being compromised. Efficient and innovative agricultural solutions is therefore essential for the seed sector to ensure food security.

The Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) and the National Seed Industry Council (NSIC) are currently working on a collaborative project to formulate the Seed Industry Development Program (SIDP) of the Philippines. The project aims to create a framework for the country’s seed industry that is responsive to agricultural needs in the next five years.

Inception meeting led by the SEARCA Emerging Innovation for Growth Department with the Bureau of Plant Industry – National Seed Industry Council.Inception meeting led by the SEARCA Emerging Innovation for Growth Department with the Bureau of Plant Industry – National Seed Industry Council.

Leading the project is Dr. Peter S. Guzman, a plant breeding expert with 17 years of experience in corn breeding and an adjunct faculty in the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB). Dr. Guzman together with Dr. Glenn B. Gregorio, SEARCA Director, and Asst. Prof. Glenn N. Baticados, Program Head, and Ms. Lichelle Dara E. Carlos, Program Specialist, both of the SEARCA Emerging Innovation for Growth Department (EIGD), conducted an Inception Meeting on 19 August 2021 with the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) George Y. Culaste, BPI Director, and Elvira Morales of the NSIC Secretariat to level off expectations and discuss the next activities of the project.

In addition to this, Dr. Guzman and Ms. Stella Faye B. Estrella, Project Associate, conducted a consultation with Dr. Gregorio; Ms. Carlos; and Ms. Ma. Christina G. Corales, Program Specialist, SEARCA EIGD, to finalize the project’s data gathering instruments and workplan.

Consultation meeting with SEARCA Director and staff and the SIDP Preparation Team held on 10 March 2022.Consultation meeting with SEARCA Director and staff and the SIDP Preparation Team held on 10 March 2022.

As part of its validation, the project conducted the SIDP Roundtable Discussion on 30 May 2022 to gather insights and feedback from key stakeholders and actors along the seed supply chain. Various problems and constraints present in the Philippine seed industry were identified during the roundtable discussion, including extreme weather challenges, which force farmers to borrow capital from informal lenders, the proliferation of illegal seeds, and delays in seed distribution caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, among others. In turn, many of the participants highlighted the need to revisit and improve the Seed Industry Development Act of 1992 and its implementation.

SIDP Roundtable Discussion held on 30 May 2022 at the SEARCA Umali Auditorium.SIDP Roundtable Discussion held on 30 May 2022 at the SEARCA Umali Auditorium.

The SIDP Roundtable Discussion was attended by different stakeholders from the academe, industry, and government with relevant work in the seed sector. The academe was represented by UPLB and the government by the Department of Agriculture, BPI, Philippine Rice Research Institute, and Department of Science and Technology. The private sector was represented by industry players from the Nueva Ecija Seed Growers Multi-Purpose Cooperative, Syngenta PH, Tao Seeds, Malvar Organic Farmers Agriculture Cooperative, East-West Seed, and Corteva Agriscience.

The results of the roundtable discussion provided significant inputs in the formulation of the SIDP, which will then serve as a guide for local and national agencies in identifying key policies, standards, and opportunities for research and development. It will also help achieve a seed supply system that is more inclusive and responsive to the demands and needs of the farmers.

The target launching and completion of the SIDP is on 30 September 2022.