Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Contract maize seed production starts

Hill Maize Research Project has started contract maize seed production.
Tilottama Agriculture Cooperatives of Pokharathok in Palpa signed a contract with Bhandari Agrovet of Tansen — one of the community groups — to produce and sale 2,000 kg seeds of the improved maize verities like Rampur, Arun-2 and Manakamana-3, said seed value chain and marketing expert at the project Dr Dilli Bahadur KC.
Chairperson of Tilottama Agriculture Cooperatives Govind Khanal and proprietor of Bhandari Agrovet Bishnu Prasad Bhandari signed the agreement — which is the first of such contract in improved maize seed production in the hills — on behalf of their respective institutions today in Palpa.
The project aims at signing contracts with some 42 strategic community groups — that will help ensure sustainable maize seed marketing system — in the 20 hilly districts within this year, he added.
The project's phase-IV, jointly funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) is implemented by International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre in partnership with various public and private sector.
The project covers 20 mid-hill districts — Khotang, Okhaldhunga, Dolakha, Ramechhap, Kavre, Sindhupalchowk, Dhading, Baglung, Syangja, Palpa, Gulmi, Jajarkot, Surkhet, Dailekh, Kalikot, Dadeldhura, Doti, Achham, Bajhang and Baitadi — aiming at promotion of a sustainable maize seed production and marketing system as a key strategic activities, he said, adding that the project has started pre-sowing contracts for improved maize seed production by signing formal agreements between community based seed production groups and private organisations like agrovets, and seed companies.
National Maize Research Programme under Nepal Agriculture Research Centre and Crop Development Directorate under Department of Agriculture, Seed Quality Control Centre and National Seed Board under the Ministry of Agriculture Development, apart from other government agencies and non-government agencies have joined the project for the implementation of the fourth phase.
Started in 1999 the project — that has completed three phases entered into the fourth phase from 2010 to 2014 — has been focusing on improved food security and income mainly of resource-poor farm households in the hills by raising productivity, sustainability and profitability of maize based cropping systems, KC informed.
The project started seed multiplication of improved maize verities through community based seed production groups in 2000.
"Some seven community groups produced 14 tonnes of seeds in 2000," he said, adding that the next year, the 195 community groups produced 1,146 tonnes of improved maize seeds in 2011. "It has proved as a successful model for Nepal as it has contributed significantly to the increased seed replacement rate apart from improving food security situation and livelihood of the hilly people.

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