Entrepreneurs develop a roadmap for public and private companies to work together to strengthen the seed system in Assam

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GUWAHATI, INDIA, 20 November 2023 — The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) organized Strengthening Seed Ecosystem: Empowering Seed Entrepreneurs of Assam, a workshop to recognize the challenges faced by its seed entrepreneurs and explore possible solutions to strengthen the state’s seed system.

“Rice is the mainstay of agriculture in Assam,” said Mowsam Hazarika, Director of the Assam Seed and Organic Seed Certification Agency. “Rice is grown in 2.4 million hectares, out of the 2.6 million hectares under food grains in the state, producing 5.2 million tons of grain.”

In 2020 – 2022, rice production contributed 5.5 million tons or 95% of the total food grains in Assam. However, the average productivity of rice in the state is only 2.2 tons/hectare, which is lower than the national average of 2.7 t/ha, according to Mr. Hazarika.

“Unavailability and non-accessibility to quality seed is a persisting problem in the region,” he added. “Most of the public- and private-sector seed companies have little or no presence in Assam.”

Only a few individual seed entrepreneurs and private seed companies are actively engaged in paddy seed production in Assam that contribute to the seed system. In 2023-2024, 19% of the total seed production area is registered to 33 farmer-producer companies and Assam Seed Corporation Ltd. The remaining areas are registered to individual seed entrepreneurs and private seed farms.

IRRI South Asia Seed Systems and Product Management Lead and 2023 Borlaug Field Awardee Dr. Swati Nayak cited examples of different successful models of seed business across different countries. Dr. Nayak encouraged seed entrepreneurs to map the demand and supply of different paddy varieties in Assam.

During the activity, participants developed a roadmap where public and private seed companies can work together to address the challenges of…

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