Access to quality seeds of crop varieties is an essential feature of the sustainable food system. It ensures that farmers have timely access to affordable quality seeds and planting materials of the most suitable crop varieties. Moreover, if seeds are of poor quality, there could be poor crop establishment, higher incidents of pests and diseases and ultimately, low yields. Climate change has complicated the situation even further with increasing occurrence of extreme weather events such as flood, drought and typhoons, and the incidence of pests and diseases.
Countries have pursued one key adaptation mechanism by changing the breeding objective of their research organizations to develop climate smart varieties with tolerance to biotic and abiotic stresses. A regional seed cooperation was formed by some countries for field trial data of public sector varieties conducted in one-member country can be shared with other member countries for faster release in other member countries. The regional seed cooperation started with India and Bangladesh in 2013, Nepal joined in October 2014, and Cambodia and Sri Lanka in 2017. The newest members of the group include Myanmar and Bhutan.
By joining this regional seed cooperation, the Filipino farmers can benefit from faster release of new climate smart varieties. This will also attract private seed companies to set up their seed production facility in the country which is in line with recently announced National Seed Technology Park by the Department of Agriculture.
The objective of this webinar is to discuss the need, scope, benefits and challenges of “Regional Seed Cooperation” in developing a climate resilient seed system in the Philippines. The discussion will specifically focus on the challenges faced by the seed sector in the face of climate change, expected impacts of Philippines joining the regional cooperation in seed sector, and the potential challenges for joining the regional cooperation.