SEED REGULATION: The Republic of Korea and the Philippines have topped a list of 16 Asian countries in the category of seed regulation environment, ranked amongst 62 countries globally in the 2017 “Enabling the Business of Agriculture” report, which was published earlier this year.
The annual study measures and compares legal barriers for businesses operating in the
agriculture sector in 62 economies, providing quantitative indicators across a number of topic areas. These include seed regulation, fertiliser, machinery, finance, markets, transport, water, and information and communication technology (ICT).
Download the full study here.
Moreover, the study includes indicators for gender (equality) and environmental sustainability. To learn more about the Asian results – which did not include Australia, China, Iran, Japan or New Zealand – Asian Seed spoke with World Bank Group Private Sector Development Specialist, Jean-Philippe Lodugnon-Harding.
“Korea’s variety registration process is one of the most efficient and affordable among EBA countries,” he said, adding that it ranked 8th overall in seed category due to strong indicators of an efficient seed sector regulatory environment.
“According to contributors surveyed, it takes 298 days and costs 2% income per capita to register a new maize variety,” he added.
The seed sector indicators took into account three main factors in ranking countries. These included the time, cost and requirements to register a new seed variety; protection and licensing of plant breeder rights; and quality control of seed in the market.
Second in seed amongst surveyed Asian countries was the Philippines, who ranked 11th overall.
Mr Lodugnon-Harding revealed that, “Compared to other countries in the region, the Philippines stands out due to its strong regulatory framework for plant breeding and the low cost of the variety registration process. While it costs 1.5% income per capita to register a new maize variety in the Philippines, the cost for this procedure can reach 99% income per capita in India and up to 406% income per capita in Vietnam.”
Here’s how EBA ranked the 16 Asian countries in terms of seed sector regulation indicators:
- South Korea (8th)
- Philippines (11th)
- Turkey (12th)
- India (21st)
- Thailand (32nd)
- Myanmar (34th)
- Kazakhstan (35th)
- Cambodia (38th)
- Vietnam (42nd)
- Malaysia (44th)
- Nepal (45th)
- Sri Lanka (46th)
- Tajikistan (51st)
- Kyrgyz Republic (53rd)
- Bangladesh (54th)
- Lao PDR (59th).
It should be noted that some countries in the above list may have ranked quite high in other areas of agriculture business, but due to regulatory challenges, fell short in seed. For example, the report points out that the Kyrgyz Republic ranked in the top 15 for markets and machinery as a result of having “efficient processes for exporting agricultural goods and tractor registration”, but had been “placed in the bottom 10 for seed and transport due to the lack of regulations on seed quality control and trucking licenses.”
Mr Lodugnon-Harding noted that a weak regulatory environment was the reason why Lao PDR ranked the lowest of all Asian countries surveyed in the EBA.
“Lao PDR lags behind in terms of regulatory environment for the seed sector with the weakest performance among countries in the region. Particularly, the country lacks key regulations that establish quality control mechanisms such as mandatory postcontrol tests on certified seed and labelling requirements,” he said.
Topping the list for ease in doing seed business was the Netherlands, followed by Spain, Denmark, Italy, Poland, Romania and Kenya.
To select the countries where EBA indicators would be relevant and useful, the team analysed the importance of the agricultural sector in all countries by looking at the contribution of agriculture to GDP and employment. The countries were grouped into five categories:
Agriculture-based, Pre-transition, Transition, Urbanised and Developed.
To select the countries to be included in the pilot phase, several additional criteria
were applied. For example, countries with small agricultural sectors (defined as having agriculture value added at PPP of less than US$1 billion) were excluded unless the population employed in agriculture is more than 100,000 people.
From an initial selection of 108 countries, to select the 10 pilot countries and subsequent scale-ups to 40 and 62 countries, the team made sure that the countries represented different
geographical regions and income groups.
World Bank plans to expand the EBA survey to include 80-100 countries in the near future.
This article was initially published in the print edition of Asian Seed, Volume 23, Issue 2 (March & April, 2017) Click here to download the issue.
Incheon, South Korea was the host city of the 23rd Asian Seed Congress. Manila, the Philippines will be the host city of the 24th Asian Seed Congress, scheduled from November 13-17, 2017.