BANGKOK: Millions, if not billions of dollars in business was generated at the 24th Asian Seed Congress, held last week at the Marriott Marquis Queen’s Park hotel in the heart of the Thai capital.
The Asian Seed Congress is the flagship event of the Asia and Pacific Seed Association (APSA) and is the largest regional seed industry event in the world. It comprises an exhibition, trading tables, private meeting rooms, technical sessions and social networking events.
Presiding over a press conference on 14 November, APSA Vice President, Tahir Saleemi, explained why it is difficult to give an exact figure of how much revenue will result from the annual event.
“Most of our members plan their business for the entire year at the Asian Seed Congress,” said Mr. Saleemi, who is the CEO of Haji Sons PVT Ltd in Lahore, Pakistan.
“We have more than 600 members in APSA, representing more than 50 countries. Most of our members depend on the Asian Seed Congress for their business year round, which ultimately translates to the trade of many hundred thousand tonnes of seed to, from and within the region,” he added.
According to import and export statistics covering a recent one-year period, more than four million tonnes of sowing seed had been traded to and from APSA’s territory, which includes countries in the Far East, South Asia, Central Asia, the Middle-East, Southeast Asia and Oceania.
This seed, of various types of field, forage, vegetable, fruit and flower crop, had a gross value of more than $ 7 billion, deriving from three million tonnes of imports worth $2.2 billion in addition to about one million tonnes of exported seed valued at $4.7 billion.
APSA is the world’s largest regional seed trade association in terms of members and territory, and its member countries account for more than one third of the global seed trade.
Dr. Chairerg Sanguansapayakon, a Past President of APSA, and the current President of the Thai Seed Trade Association, elaborated on the dynamic nature of international seed trade and how the Asian Seed Congress’ unique platform addresses the needs of APSA members.
Dr Chairerg said that in addition to the exhibition booths, another popular business feature of the Asian Seed Congress is Trading Tables, which provides an ideal platform for members to not only meet with new potential partners, but also maintain and strengthen existing business relationships.
“Delegates may have some minor or major issues they need to work out or discuss in detail, and that requires them to be face to face. New products or markets. Supply chain challenges. Quality control requirements. Changing phytosanitary and quarantine standards. The list goes on.
“The Asian Seed Congress is a golden opportunity for us to all come together and meet – at the same place and time,” said Dr. Chairerg, who heads Thai Seed & Agriculture Company Limited.
Also representing APSA at the press conference, Wichai Laocharoenpornkul – General Manager of East-West Seed Thailand – talked about some of the other key features of the event for key seed industry stakeholders.
“Our technical sessions provide the ideal platform for seed industry experts to discuss and exchange knowledge and leads on the latest breakthroughs. For these we invite expert speakers from around the world to speak on various topics of interest to APSA members,” he said.
APSA has four Special Interest Groups – Vegetables & Ornamentals, Hybrid Rice, Cover Crops and Field Crops – as well as three Standing Committees for Trade & Marketing, Seed Technology and Intellectual Property Rights & Biodiversity.
This year, some of the key topics of discussions included “Climate Smart” breeding and seed multiplication, plant variety protection, intellectual property rights, seed-specific phytosanitary measures, GM regulation, gene editing and new niche market opportunities. Full summaries of the sessions will be included in our next issue of Asian Seed & Planting material, out next month.
Asked about demographics of this year’s attendees, Ms Heidi Gallant, APSA Executive Director revealed that China and India were the most represented member countries, followed by Japan, Pakistan and Thailand.
“These five countries are traditionally our top member countries in terms of representation, but we are getting an increasing number of member organizations from our other key countries, including South Korea, the Philippines, Bangladesh, New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia and Turkey.”
Among the nearly 2,000 stakeholders attending were more than 1,200 registered delegates, several hundred day-pass registrants, dozens of experts and VIP guests, including executives, scientists and government officers.
In addition to Bangkok, previous editions of the Asian Seed Congress have been held in Chiang Mai, Pattaya, Manila, Bangalore, Goa, New Delhi, Hyderabad (India), Kobe, Chiba, Macau, Shanghai, Seoul, Incheon, Kaohsiung, Brisbane, Bali, Jakarta, Ho Chi Minh City and Kuala Lumpur. Click here for full details.
The 25th Asian Seed Congress is scheduled to take place 12-15 November 2018 in Manila, the Philippines.