The government is set to revise the two-decade old national seed policy to make it compatible with the present day need and help the seed sector flourish, Agriculture Secretary SM Nazmul Islam said.
He shared the plan at a seminar organised by Bangladesh Seed Association (BSA), a trade-body of 180-private sector seed marketers, at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in Dhaka yesterday.
Islam said the supply of quality seed has increased over time due to concerted efforts of both public and private sectors.
Entrance of private firms in the seed business has made quality seeds more available in the market, Islam said.
Currently, private and public sectors together meet 21 percent of the requirement of 12.52 lakh tonnes of quality seeds, which, agriculturists say, can increase crop yield by up to 20 percent.
In case of rice seed, private and public sectors meet 56 percent of total annual requirement of quality seed.
Farmers' meet the rest of their requirement through the seed preserved by themselves and through the informal market, according to agriculture ministry.
Islam said private firms now supply 90 percent of hybrid seeds in the country.
It is a must now to have a new seed policy, as more private firms are entering into seed business, said Anwar Faruque, director general of the seed wing of the agriculture ministry.
The present seed policy was drafted in 1993 when there was no existence of any private sector for seeds, he said.
"Now the private sector is playing a vital role for the economy. We are also trying to export the seeds. These issues will be incorporated in the new policy," said Faruque.
BSA President M Anis Ud-Dowla expected the new policy which is drafting now to encourage private firms to come forward.
The seed act should be revised, he said.
It has been proved that the farmers are much better off using commercially produced seeds and their output more than compensate for the additional cost, he said.
The government should ensure that the farmers are getting fair prices for their produce, he said.
BSA General Secretary Asadul Amin Dadon demanded for establishing an international standard seed testing laboratory to assess seed health.