Training private seed-sector stakeholders in Bangladesh to navigate the complex, shifting agricultural challenges 

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Scientists, researchers, and producers from private seed companies being trained in modern seed technology at the Bangladesh Seed Certification Agency. (Photo: IRRI Bangladesh)

Scientists, researchers, and producers from private seed companies were trained to upgrade their skills with cutting-edge knowledge and advanced techniques in seed technology, genetic enhancement, and agricultural innovation. The training aims to help empower the private seed sector and ensure every farmer in Bangladesh has access to high-quality seeds and agriculture is sustainable and resilient in the face of climate change.

From the 1970s to the 1980s, the seed sector in Bangladesh was highly regulated by the government thus seed production was mainly the purview of the public sector. The policy limited the availability of quality seeds, an important component of agricultural production as it can increase productivity between 15% and 20%.

In 1995, the government amended the country’s national seed policy to encourage the private sector to go into seed production to help improve agricultural production. However, the use of quality seeds in Bangladesh remains far from satisfactory as public and private seed companies only supply 28% of high-quality seeds,

The key to producing sufficient quality seed is a workforce with knowledge and skill in seed technology.  Despite the encouraging growth of the seed sector in Bangladesh, qualified workers remain scarce.

To help empower the private seed sector, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Agriculture University (BSMRAU), Bangladesh Seed Association (BSA), and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) conducted a course on seed technology for scientists, researchers, and producers from private seed companies.

The training aims to upgrade the participants’ skills with cutting-edge knowledge and advanced techniques in seed technology, genetic enhancement, and agricultural innovation.

The BSMRAU, BSA, and IRRI also envision a Bangladesh where every farmer has access to high-quality seeds and agriculture is sustainable and resilient in the face of climate change. More people with sufficient technical skills in the seed supply chain would ultimately encourage more farmers to use quality seed in crop production.

“As a quality control officer in the seed sector, this course will be very beneficial for me in building a quality standard for seed production in my organization,” said Khaled Ibn Anwar from Babylon Agro and Dairy Ltd.

Md. Tajuddin Ahmed, deputy manager at Ispahani Agro Limited, one of the participants, called the training very useful and eye-opening for him and other agribusinesses.

“The prospects for the seed industry in Bangladesh are bright,” Mr. Ahmed said. “There is a huge opportunity to create small entrepreneurship or contact growers.”

The seed technology course is more than about acquiring knowledge, according to BSMRAU Vice Chancellor Md. Giashuddin Miah,

“It is also about fostering a spirit of collaboration, innovation, sustainability, and building a network of like-minded individuals who could drive change in the industry,” Dr. Miah said.

Additionally, the IRRI Bangladesh Seed System Team, in collaboration with several partner organizations, successfully conducted several capacity-development programs, on-farm trials, and rice varietal demonstrations for identifying and promoting promising varieties to engage private seed industry players.

Supported by CGIAR’s Seed Equal Initiative and IRRI’s OneRice Breeding Strategy, these efforts aim to deliver genetic gain to end users more effectively through the formal seed system in Bangladesh.

About the authors
Dr.  Habib is the lead specialist in the Seed System and Product Management at IRRI Bangladesh. Dr. Nayak is an IRRI scientist and the lead of South Asia Seed Systems and Product Management.

The post Training private seed-sector stakeholders in Bangladesh to navigate the complex, shifting agricultural challenges  first appeared on Rice Today.

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