Six agencies in collaborative venture to promote high-quality rice seed production

Tech June 17, 2014 00:00

By The Nation

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Six key organisations have joined hands to promote the production of high-quality rice seeds.

The agencies involved in the collaboration are the Rice Department, the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives, the Thai Rice Foundation under Royal Patronage, the National Science Technology and Innovation Policy Office, the Agricultural Research Development Agency and the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA).
The shortage of high-quality seed is one of the major problems faced by rice farmers and others in the sector in Thailand, as it directly affects the production and quality of rice grains entering the domestic and world markets. 
Currently, only 40 per cent of rice-seed demand is met, leading to production problems such as low yield and inconsistent and low-quality rice grains. 
The root causes of problems in rice-seed production are many: access to elite lines and master seeds; a lack of seed-production knowledge among farmers; a shortage of inspectors to certify high-quality seed; a disconnection between producers and distributors; and weak financial structure to support the production/distribution chain. 
The six organisations will, therefore, work together to address these problems based on the strength and expertise of each body. 
Thaweesak Koanantakool, president of the NSTDA, said the overall objective of the collaboration is to develop the network of rice-seed producers and distributors; upgrade the system of production and certification of high-quality seed; and meet the Kingdom’s rice-seed demand. 
The activities to be undertaken will comprise the launch of a training programme in seed production and boosting human capital in the field of seed certification; raising awareness among farmers of the importance of quality seeds; and access to financial resources for farmers and business operators in the value chain.
With this collaboration, rice production in Thailand can be advanced, generating significant income for farmers as well as increasing the competitiveness of the rice industry in the global market, he said.