Several countries like China, Indonesia, Thailand, Japan and even some of the European countries have not allowed 100% FDI in the seed sector.
By B N KUMAR
MUMBAI, Aug 27 (BNC Network): The National Seed Association of India (NSAI) has strongly opposed the FDI in seed sector and called for a serious rejig to ensure Aatmanirbhar Krishi (self- reliant agriculture) and protect the rich bio-diversity.
This assumes significance in view of the serious threats to the bio-diversity and food security by China which unleashed seed terrorism by sending unsolicited packets with suspected invasive species. From the US to Australia, several nations have already sounded alarm bells against this invasion. NSAI too requested the government to be alert.
Association president M Prabhakar Rao said in his communique to Dolly Chakrabarty, Additional Secretary, Agriculture, that FDI is detrimental to the growth of the domestic industry.
He pointed out that several countries like China, Indonesia, Thailand, Japan and even some of the European countries have not allowed 100% FDI in the seed sector. While many countries allow FDI in R&D in seed production and distribution, a local partnership and shareholding is made mandatory.
Pointing out a serious policy discord, NSAI said, while Indian companies cannot have 100% owned subsidiaries in countries like China, Indonesia etc., the companies of these countries can come and set up 100% owned subsidiaries in India. “There is a need for rejig of the FDI policy in India not only for making India self-reliant in seeds but also to protect and leverage on the rich biodiversity possessed by our country,” Rao said.
NSAI is an apex body of seed companies having around 500 members assisting various Governmental regulatory and scientific entities in enabling favorable policy and creating conducive environment for the growth of the seed industry in India.
The Association has also called for a uniform central legislation to govern the seed policy to ensure Aatmanirbar Krishi (self-reliant agriculture) as the existing different rules in various states are causing “serious hardships”.
The implementation of the Central legislation by the State seed licensing authorities is not uniform. This is leading to difficulties for the national level seed companies thereby slowing down the operations. There is a need for uniform and harmonious licensing of the seed companies and varietal inclusion in the license across the country. This problem has been persisting for many years despite repeated representations by the Industry.
“We have proposed for a central licensing of seed companies having all the important operations like R&D, production, processing and marketing in several States, in the new seed legislation. A Central licensing and varietal inclusion process for such companies will eliminate many of the obstacles that are being faced now,” Rao said in his letter.
NSAI called for supporting the SMEs in Seed sector for quality seed production by providing free access to seed quality testing through encouraging set up of third party Seed Testing Laboratories accredited by NABL. There is a need to encourage establishment of independent seed testing laboratories by associations / trusts / societies without any conflict of interest.
Rao suggested identification of some Special economic zones for seed production and export to encourage seed production for export in States which have excellent agro climatic conditions to take up quality seed production.