Asian Seed Congress 2017 Special Interest Group: Cover Crops Meeting
The technical session of APSA Special Interest Group on Cover Crops (Forage and Amenities) was chaired by Mr. Bhupen Dubey, who opened the session highlighting the importance of cover crops by asking, “Why do seed breeders promote fruit and vegetable seeds yet overlook the potential of the livestock industry and cover crop seed production?” He then suggested that the improvement of livestock genetics and farm management is crucial for the development of this important sector.
SIG Co-Chair, Mr. Muhammad Asim Butt then introduced the two speakers of the session, Dr. P. K. Ghosh, (former Director, Indian Grasslands & Fodder Research Institute, India) and Mr. Prabhakar Babu (Deputy General Manager Forages for Advanta Seeds, A UPL Group Company).
Dr. Ghosh gave a presentation on “Forage Seed Sector in Asia: Opportunities and Threats”, in which he highlighted the importance of the livestock sector in world agriculture. Discussing the average consumption of animal products, he stressed that returns from livestock provide stability to farm income and livelihoods. Dr. Ghosh discussed the feeding systems (crop residue based vs pasture / green forage based) in the Asia Pacific region. He stated that feed and fodder deficiency was an important factor responsible for low cattle productivity in the region. Discussing
the opportunities in the global forage market, Dr. Ghosh opined that the Asia Pacific market, though small, is expected to witness robust growth in coming years.
Presently there is big dependence on imports. He said that small herd size, stagnant area under fodder crop and having only a few established forage seed companies, are the main obstacles
for growth of the forage seed sector in developing countries. Dr. Ghosh also discussed the scope and lacunae of seed supply systems in South Asia, as further constraints in fodder seed, at production, research, farmer and policy levels.
The second speaker Mr. Prabhakar Babu presented on “New Generation Forage Crops – the Great Opportunity in Asia”, opening with a discussion of the types of cover crops, and their respective advantages. He informed the members that the sector is likely to grow at CGR of 8% over next three years and reach a market of $ 17.5 billion. Discussing the region-wise contributions, he opined that Asia Pacific region is likely to replace Europe behind the global leader the Americas by 2020. He also discussed the crop wise market estimates and forecast. He then highlighted the opportunities in the Asia Pacific region, based on the crop wise acreage and value estimates. For business potential in different countries, he mentioned the requirements of the right customers and also talked about the key players for different crop segments, as well as discussing the probable threats and opportunities. Mr. Prabhakar Babu’s suggestions for improving the sector included: more participation from the private sector by increasing forage seed research and production, the setting up of international standards for forage seeds to enhance ease of trading, and setting out policies to use forage crops in rejuvenating degraded lands.
SIG Chair, Mr. Dubey, summed up the discussions and informed the members about proposed future activities, including a proposal to organise a study tour.
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