Organic Seed Production Workshop

18 – 19 April 2016, Royal University of Bhutan (RUB), Lobesa, Bhutan

After visiting Khao Kwan Foundation, Suphanburi, Thailand on 17th December 2015, TOA organic seed production workshop was held at College of Natural Resources (CNR), Lobesa, Bhutan, to design and develop programme in collaboration with TOA partners from Bhutan and Mekong sub-region countries. CNR is one of the colleges of RUB. The workshop started by joining of seed experts from Bhutan, Cambodia and Thailand to share experiences and opinions on seed production from their areas. After 2-day workshop, the initiatives to setup the project / seed network has been conducted.

Nature

  • Good soil contains micro-organism, which is origin/important of organic farming
  • Seeds can adapt themselves to fit soil, climate and environment
  • Good soil and organic seeds help in biodiversity and ecological conservation
  • Cambodia faces the problem on vegetable organic seed production, i.e. cabbage and carrot because of climate

Livelihoods

  • Small-scale farmers have to learn in seed production themselves because seed must be in the hand of farmer, not government or corporate
  • Local seeds have been modified to hybrid seeds that fit to
  • Chemical farming are hybrid seeds but can use only one time, after that they cannot produce seeds themselves in the next season
  • Chemical agricultural approach separates everything for selling and taking money from farmers
  • Seed company can control the seed price, pesticide and inputs that farmers has to follow company demands for a lifetime

Government

  • GMO seeds company as Monsanto controls US government
  • Green revolution in Thailand brought chemical usage to Thai farmer
  • In USA, laws and regulations support GMOs seeds, hence awareness and monitoring the situation in other countries are needed

Marketing

  • Organic seeds will be a better choice in agriculture business because of global trend
  • It takes time during conversion period, approximately 3 years in soil and seed improvement but more yields and higher price are the results

Work plan

  1. Sharing and networking in a form of seed banks that controlled by farmers
  2. Discussion from multi-stakeholders to get involves and support small-scale farmers on seed production (research and training)
  3. Land is required as the area for technical demonstration in planting and saving organic seeds
  4. Working models of organic seed production are essentials for network collaboration which developed from the workshop to practical project setting

Project initiatives

Bhutan natural organic center, the model is similar to Mae Tha model in Chiang Mai, will be established by Dilip Kumar Subba who intends to start his own independent project for organic seed production. This mission needs investment, which could be provided partially through the planned social enterprise. However, the company will spend about 3 years in conversion period to get certified from National Organic Programme.

Therefore, the center will collaborate with TOA partners during 3 years in the project of TOA Local Seed Network with focuses on 4 angles;

  1. Investment
    • Organic seed social enterprise needs to have marketing (business) plan
    • Testing variety and listing of seeds, especially, vegetable seeds
  2. Learning exchange and knowledge center
    • Target groups are farmers and young people under the concept of seed production
    • Rice seed training course at Khao Kwan Foundation, Supanburi is available
  3. Networking with other countries; China, India, Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar
  4. Legal aspects – regulations and laws on seed import-export and seed protection rights
  5. Core Group:
    • Bhutan – CNR and Dilip Kumar,
    • Thailand – Suan Nguen Mee Ma and Khao Kwan Foundation,
    • Cambodia – CEDAC, and
    • TOA executive committee

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