December 3: Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) signed Record of Discussions with the Government of Nepal for the technical cooperation for Strengthening Seed Production, Supply and Quality Control System Project.
According to JICA, the implementation period of the project is for five years from March 2022 to March 2027 and the executing agencies are the Seed Quality Control Center (SQCC), Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development (MOALD), Nepal Agricultural Research Council (NARC), and the Ministry of Land Management, Agriculture and Cooperatives (MoLMAC) of Province 1.
Issuing a statement on December 3, JICA said that the project will be implemented in Jhapa, Morang, Sunasari and Udayapur districts of Province 1. The purpose of the project is “to strengthen rice seed production, supply and quality control system” to improve productivity of rice by the means of dissemination of quality improved seeds in Province 1 and to strengthen the implementation of the rice seed production, supply and quality control system in Nepal, the statement added.
Rice is the fundamental crop of Nepal, noted JICA. “Everyone eats it, and farmers gain income out of it. In order to make the crop tasty, nutritious, and productive, the most important factor remains the quality of rice seeds,” reads the statement.
Even though rice farming contributes around 15 percent of the national GDP of Nepal, there is still possibility to increase its yield, says JICA adding that the usage of improved seed and increasing the replacement rate of seed are the key to achieve it.
According to the statistic, seed replacement rate of rice in Nepal is around 20 percent at present, therefore, the Government of Nepal has adopted a strategy to raise the percentage to 25 percent. And it is estimated that the use of improved seeds of good quality will increase its yield by 15 percent, the statement further said.
“However, there are several processes before farmers can use the improved seeds with good quality. It is necessary to improve the quality of the system and capacity to produce quality seeds in Nepal. In this context, holistic support for improving seed production was requested to JICA.”
According to JICA, the project is expected to contribute for sustainable social and economic development of Nepal during and after the implementation period of the project.