A workshop was organized on 8th June 2016 to discuss the issues related to the certification & registration of seed potatoes in India. The workshop was jointly organized by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, New Delhi, Netherlands Agro Food & Technology Centre (NAFTC-India) & Wageningen University, Netherlands. The event was chaired by:
Dr. R C Agarwal, Registrar General, Protection of Plant Varieties & Farmers’ Right Authority, Government of India & Dr. S K Chakrabarti, Director Central Potato Research Institute.
Mr. Wouter Verhey, Agriculture Counsellor-India, Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Prof Anton Haverkort, Senior Potato Researcher from Wageningen University & Mr. Prekash Ramsingh, Director NAFTC-India were representing the organizers.
Apart from this there were representations from Punjab Government, Punjab Agricultural University, HZPC, Mahindra-HZPC, Kiremko, McCain, Simplot, PepsiCo, Technico, ITC, POSCON, JPGA & some big potato farmers from the state of Punjab.
The main issues that were addressed during the workshop were:
1. Commercial Registration of foreign varieties aimed at increasing the genetic base of potato in India.
2. Official massive certification of seed potatoes aimed at improving and guaranteeing seed health.
3. Exploring the possibilities of exporting the seed potatoes to the other countries.
The objective of the workshop was to bring all the important members of the potato value chain related to seed potatoes together, brain storm the mentioned issues & come out with recommendations & follow-up plan.
The first session showed some very important presentations from the delegates & participants. Post lunch was a breakup session where 3 groups were made and were given three different topics for brain storming. Each group came out with some recommendations & action plans. The topics discussed during the breakup session were:
1. What needs to be done to make the potato seed industry important in the region & beyond.
2. What needs to be done to make the seed certification system contribute more to farmers’ income.
3. What needs to be done to increase variety base (national & international) to meet current & future industry demands.
After the break-up session discussion the house went through the recommendations followed by question & answers. The house made some recommendations and a few important one are:
1. To have autonomous certification body (potato board) approved by state and central Governments. The key objectives discussed are promotion/marketing of Indian brand in exports market, be a prominent platform to discuss and find solutions to the issues faced by Potato industry, and act to influence and help right government policies.
2. All seed corporates come together and form a certification consortium. It would be a small working group that would directly discuss with CPRI & other government agencies regarding the issues related to seed potato industry.
3. Variety imports to be made easy for exports and domestic market. To have a body made responsible with adequate resources, to certify the seeds as per requirements of importing countries, both for notified and non-notified varieties. Government to have bilateral agreements with importing countries.
4. Agreement between Indian & Dutch governments for being convention countries in the field of agriculture/seeds. This will help to reduce the time taken for certification of a crop variety. Indian government had already signed an agreement with Germany in this regards.
Way forward & Follow-up:
1- A report of the recommendations to be shared by NAFTC with participants for formulating follow-up.
2- NAFTC to take lead in formation of a consortium that will include members from public bodies & private companies, all in the field of potato.
3- A knowledge mission to be planned from India to Holland to showcase the process & technology in field of seed potato, certification & registration.
4- NAFTC will plan another such workshop as follow-up & to bring the value chain again at one platform for discussion.
For more information about this event, please contact our India Office.