Community-based seed production in Nepal

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Concepts and approaches of community-based seed production (CBSP) for a sustainable seed supply system in Nepal
Validated RNRRS Output. Home List by Audience List by Topic

New community-based systems fill a big need for seed. Now, farmers can get seed of the varieties they prefer. Community networks find suitable new varieties, involve farmers in selection, and produce seed commercially. They are market-oriented, and cost-effective because they involve all stakeholders’ farmer groups, government and non-government research and development organisations, seed traders and entrepreneurs. Community-based seed organisations dealing with rice, wheat, maize, kidney bean, chickpea, mungbean, lentil, field pea and oilseed rape already operate in Nepal, and are spreading to India and Bangladesh. They boost local seed markets, open possibilities for people to start seed-trading businesses, and offer farmers a ‘basket’ of their favourite crop varieties from which to choose.

Project Ref: PSP36:
Topic: 1. Improving Farmers Livelihoods: Better Crops, Systems & Pest Management
Lead Organisation: CAZS-NR, UK 
Source: Plant Sciences Programme

Contents: Description
Current Situation
Lessons Learned
Impacts On Poverty
Environmental Impact


Research Programmes:

Plant Sciences Research Programme and LI-BIRD

Relevant Research Projects:

R6748, R7542, R8071, R8221 and Programme Development

  • Local Initiatives for Biodiversity Research and Development (LI-BIRD)
  • Forum for Rural Welfare and Agricultural Reform for Development (FORWARD) CAZS-Natural Resources, UK
  • Department of Agriculture (DoA) and District Agricultural Development Offices (DADOs)
  • Nepal Agricultural Research Council (NARC)
  • Social Upliftment through Participatory Programme, Research and Training (SUPPORT) Foundation
  • Community Development and Research Centre (CDRC)
  • International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT), Nepal

Research Outputs, Problems and Solutions:

The PSP has initiated, developed and formalised a community-based seed production (CBSP) approach for a sustainable seed supply system for poor farmers. It is an approach of producing and distributing seeds with the participatory involvement of farmers’ groups. In this approach, seed producer farmer associations are formed to multiply the seed of farmer-preferred varieties using a cost-effective approach having several unique futures. It is market-oriented with an unusual characteristic of placing greater emphasis on developing skills in marketing than in production. It takes account of the entire seed innovation system from initial identification of new varieties through participatory varietal selection (PVS) through to commercial seed production. It involves all stakeholders, and develops strong linkages between the private sector and the community-based groups. This builds sustainable partnerships for the CBSP groups and governmental and non-governmental research and development organisations, seed traders and entrepreneurs. This has:

  • Facilitated the development of a local seed market
  • Provided an opportunity for local income generation through the business of selling seed
  • Increased productivity and hence food security through the timely supply of large quantities of quality seed of improved varieties to farmers

When produced: The CBSP approach of seed supply began with the successful outcome of participatory crop improvement (PCI) projects that began in 1997 in Nepal. These projects quickly identified new, farmer-preferred varieties and an immediate challenge was to provide seeds of those varieties on a wider scale. Since 2000, the rapid formation and institutional strengthening of farmers’ groups to produce and market seed has been widely tested in important crops such as rice, wheat, maize, and kidney bean.  Dry season crops e.g. chickpea, mungbean, lentil, field pea, oilseed rape etc were included in the CBSP programme after the initiation of the rice-fallow rabi cropping (RRC) project in selected districts of Nepal terai.

Problem addressed: Over 80% of the total population of Nepal derive their food security, livelihood and income from agriculture (CBS, 2005). Seed is vital for agricultural development; however, farmers have limited access to quality seeds of improved crop varieties. The formal sector meets < 5% of the total seed demanded of major food crops (Baniya et al., 2000). The National Seed company (NSC), a parastatal organisation, produced and marketed over 3000 tonnes of seed of rice, wheat, maize, lentil, jute, vegetables, and other crops in 2005, of which rice, wheat and maize had the major share (Table 1). The current supply of about 600 tonnes of rice seed through the NSC is just enough to replace 0.55% of the total rice seed demand annually in the country (Table 1). The supply situation of crops other than rice, such as wheat and maize is more alarming. In this context, farmer-to-farmer seed exchange and local seed markets meet most of the seed requirements. There has been a declining government involvement in the seed supply system but there is no viable commercial seed supply mechanism is in place to fill the gap. The situation is even worse in remote areas with the result that resource-poor and disadvantaged communities suffer most.

Table 1. Demand and supply of quality seed from government managed seed supply system i.e. through the National Seed Company (NSC) in 2005

Crop Total area 
(M ha)
Seed rate 
(kg ha-1)
Total seed required (t) Amount. of seed for 25% seed replacement (t) Supply from NSC (t) Deficit in seed supply (%)
Rice 1.54 50 55,000 14,000 643 (5‡) 95
Maize 0.83 20 11,000 3,000 11 (0.3) 99.7
Wheat 0.67 120 59,000 15,000 2600 (18) 82
Total 3.04 32,000 3250 (10) 90

‡ NSC, 2006, figure in parenthesis indicate percentage of amount of seed supplied from NSC (formal sector)

Lessons from previously implemented seed projects in Nepal and findings elsewhere (e.g., Cromwell, 1997; Sperling and Ashby, 1997; Tripp, 1997, 2001; Douglas, 1984), suggest that only locally-based organisations can provide a solution in meeting the demand for quality seeds.

Types of Research Output:

Product Technology Service Process or Methodology Policy Other
x x x x x

Major Commodities Involved:

The priority crops in CBSP in Nepal

  • Rice
  • Wheat
  • Maize
  • Mungbean
  • Lentil
  • Kidney bean
  • Chickpea
  • Rapeseed and mustard

All the above crops are very important from the point of view of food and livelihood security, income generation and also providing raw materials to most of the agro-based industries in Nepal. In addition, other minor crops are also included as per the local farmers’ needs. The process of CBSP is equally applicable to all crops in all agricultural systems in all geographical regions. It is easiest for self-pollinated crops with high multiplication rates and where seeds can be sold without a need for longer storage.

Production Systems:

Semi-Arid High potential Hillsides Forest-Agriculture Peri-urban Land water Tropical moist forest Cross-cutting
x x x x

Farming Systems: 

Smallholder rainfed humid Irrigated Wetland rice based Smallholder rainfed highland Smallholder rainfed dry/cold Dualistic Coastal artisanal fishing
x x x x

Potential for Added Value:

CBSP is highly compatible with participatory varietal selection (PVS) and client-oriented breeding (COB) as these approaches are based on the identification and promotion of new varieties. These outputs can be clustered with activities related to seed quality, health, improved post-harvest processing and improved seed storage and, demand and supply of agricultural information and any other seed-based technologies, seed priming, enrichment of seeds with micronutrients, processing and improved packaging.

Often farmers do not use the quality seeds of improved crop varieties so the efficiency of CBSP systems can be enhanced through marketing networking. In Nepal, the FM radio network is emerging with a wide coverage throughout the terai and most part of the hills. Information networking through such channels in other parts of South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa would be very helpful in letting farmers know about what is available for particular crop variety. These can also be clustered with outputs that help in capacity building of farmers groups, particularly on seed quality management and marketing. Some of the CBSP groups were, for example, based on existing groups concerned with activities such as livestock or irrigation.

The cultivation of post-rainy season crops in land that was previously fallow also requires group action, and in some terai districts farmers groups, facilitated by FORWARD, have already initiated CBSP on post-rainy season crops. This could be strengthened and expanded to new areas in Nepal and elsewhere.

The value of these outputs can be added by clustering with non-RNRRS outputs, e.g., CBSP promoted by CIMMYT-NARC collaboration on maize (funded by SDC) in Nepal, small grant projects funded by the National Agricultural Research and Development Fund (NARDF), Nepal, and research findings on solarisation to produce healthier seedlings of rice by Cornell University in Bangladesh and Nepal.

Because the output involves seed, groups, marketing, information, participation, extension and institutional change it can be linked to many RNRRS outputs:

CPHP Farmer access to markets R8274, R8498
CPP Commercial incentives for groundnut production and farmer led multiplication R8422, R8105
Dissemination of improved beans R8415
Farmer multiplication systems (groundnut/potato R8104, R8435
Finger millet blast resistant varieties R8445, R8030, R6733
Good seed initiative R8480
Improved access to appropriate farm inputs for integrated maize crop management by small-scale farmers in Embu and Kirinyaga Districts, Kenya R8219, R7405
Improving farmers access to and management of disease resistant maize cultivars in the Southern Highlands of Tanzania R8220, R8406, R8422
Linking demand with supply of agricultural information R8429, R8281
Managing rice pests in Bangladesh by improving extension service information management for policy and planning R8447
Rosette resistant groundnut varieties R7445, R6811
NRSP Participatory irrigation management and Participatory Technology Development R7830
Participatory Technology Development R7412
Scaling-up process R7865
Self-help groups and community action R8084


How the outputs were validated:

The benefits of seed of improved varieties have been validated over many crops, countries and regions in PSP research and this is documented in other clusters. Here, we concentrate on the validation of the effectiveness and sustainability of the CBSP groups rather than the impact of the seed produced by the groups. This effectiveness has been validated by a participatory evaluation process of the CBSP group development (Gauchan, 2006, Devkota et al, 2006) and from the records kept by the groups on the seed produced by crop, variety and year and by the financial accounts. Important indicators of sustainability of this approach is that many of these groups are running the business with little external financial support, and are independently handling the planning, production and marketing of seeds. Outside support has been limited to technical backstopping. It was found that the groups were very particular about the quality of the seeds they produced and inspected the production plots and rejected those that were considered unsatisfactory.

The effectiveness of the groups from the viewpoint of their customers was validated by focus group discussions (FGDs) with farmers groups in several districts. It was reported that access to quality seeds of new varieties had improved, the price was affordable and the delivery was in time and reliable.

Additional evidence of the long-term commitment of the groups is that they have federated for quality management and seed marketing. In Chitwan the groups established a District Seed Co-ordination Committee (DSCC) to facilitate the supply of source seed, and to have effective quality control of the seed by joint monitoring and supervision.

Internal validation was done by the members of the seed producers groups (Annex 1). Several District Agricultural Development offices (DADOs) in the terai and the hills of Nepal, several of the Nepal Agricultural Research Council (NARC) Stations across country. Similarly Agrovets, NGOs, e.g. LI-BIRD, FORWARD, Community Development and Research Centre (CDRC), SUPPORT Foundation, INGOs CARE and PLAN, CGIAR centres-CIMMYT and projects-Hill Maize Research Project (HMRP), Agricultural Perspective Plan Support Programme (APPSP),  Crop diversification project (CDP) have promoted and validated this approach in many districts of Nepal involving thousands of seed producer farmers.

The effectiveness of this approach has also been reported (Koirala et al., 2004; Rajbhandari, 2004) and also validated in most of the districts mentioned above by 2004 and 2005 through the monitoring visit of multi-stakeholders. The effectiveness of these approaches was evidenced by their uptake by several partners both governmental and non-governmental, other projects and CGIAR centres (Joshi, 1999 and Joshi et al., 2006).

Where the Outputs were Validated:

Realising the ever increasing demand of quality seed and declining supply from the government run organizations, a community-based seed production and marketing approach was initiated by LI-BIRD and CAZS-NR at Chitwan effectively from 2000. In 2001, this approach was scaled up in five more terai districts – Jhapa, Rautahat, Dang, Kailali and Kanchanpur – with the help of the DADO offices of these districts as the groups need to be formally registered with them to be eligible for technical backstopping and other support. By 2002, this approach was further scaled to four more terai districts – Kapilvastu, Sirha, Saptari and Jhapa – by FORWARD under the Rice-fallow rabicropping project (R8221) (Fig.1, Annex 1).

The seeds are produced in the rainfed and irrigated rice production systems in the humid and semi-arid tropics.

Fig. 1. Functional CBSP groups in the terai districts of Nepal (2000-2006). The numbers in the parenthesis indicate the number of groups.

Current Situation

Who are the Users?

The group members are the primary users of this output. Each member participates in the decision making on planning, production and marketing and shares in the benefits (Annex 2). This allows groups to be more cohesive and committed to maximising profits. Farming communities across the country are the secondary users of this output. They are getting increased productivity through the use of quality seeds of new crop varieties of their choice.

Currently, this approach is being adopted by several NGO partners in parts of several districts and in many instances this is implemented as a part of special projects. Some elements of the approach are also adopted by government organisations particularly by DADOs of 21 terai and 14 hilly districts in their District Seed Self-Sufficiency Programme (DISSPRO). But such groups are still driven by DADOs who market the seeds the groups produce.

Uptake of this approach, from PSP research, is also increasing in other countries, e.g. India and Bangladesh. The Gramin Vikas Trust (GVT) and Catholic Relief Services (CRS) are promoting CBSP in their project areas. In Bangladesh PROVA has initiated CBSP on rice and chickpea.

Where the outputs have been used:

These outputs are being used in several agro-ecosystems both upland and low land, irrigated and non-irrigated including areas under cold and moisture stress conditions. In the areas that remain fallow after rice harvest options are available to grow chickpea, lentils, pigeonpea, field pea and mungbean and seeds of them are being produced and marketed. These outputs are also being used in the high barind tract (HBT) of Bangladesh by PROVA in collaboration with Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) with support from CAZS-NR. In the rainfed semi-arid tropics of western and eastern India GVT and CRS are making use of these outputs with support from CAZS-NR.

Scale of Current Use:

Over 30 groups and cooperatives are producing and marketing a considerable amount of certified, improved and truthfully labelled seeds of rice, wheat, maize, grain legume and oilseed crops (Annex 1). The first significant seed production was in 2001 and by 2005, the quantity of seed of various crops produced and marketed was over 1000 t.

The seed production of the seed groups is much higher than that of the National Seed Company (NSC) (Table 1). Moreover, the NSC does not have a good reputation for the quality of its seed. On average, a seed producer group established only 3-4 years ago is producing and marketing 150 t (Table 3) seed of various crops (Annex 1).

 Table 3. Amount of seed of various crops produced by community-based seed producers groups, 2002-2005

Name of seed producers group District /  Institution Date of establishment Total amount of seed produced and sold (t)
2002-03 2003-04 2004-05 2005-06
Unnat Seed Producers group, Patihani Chitwan Oct, 2001 45 74 258 500
Shreeram Seed Producers group, Parbatipur Chitwan Dec, 2002 5 62 149 250
Devujjal Seed Producers group, Gitanagar Chitwan Dec, 2002 8 46 150
Siddhanath Seed Producers Group Kanchanpur 2001 5 7 20
Kalika Seed Producers Group Kailali April, 1998 3 5
Surayadaya Bahu Uddeshe Krishak Sahakari Sanstha Ltd. Bela – 2 Dang Dang March, 1999 23 25 56 70
Nawa Adharsha Farmer Seed Producers Group Jhapa 1998 2 25 14 20
Total 75 199 633 1015

After four years, these groups are supplying seeds to over 30 terai and mid-hill districts of Nepal and Chitwan has become a major source of seeds of several crop varieties. The CBSP has contributed to the dissemination of new crop varieties; many of which have been identified or bred using participatory approaches, PVS or COB.  The amount of seed produced and sold was >1000 t (Table 2) annually by just seven groups with a cumulative net profit of over $10,000.

15. In your experience what programmes, platforms, policy, institutional structures exist that have assisted with the promotion and/or adoption of the output(s) proposed here and in terms of capacity strengthening what do you see as the key factors of success?

The approach was also scaled up by non-RNRRS projects, e.g., the SDC-funded Hill Maize Research Project (HMRP) who promoted CBSP in parts of several hill districts (Fig. 2) as an integral activity of the project.

Fig. 2. CBSP approach validated and promoted by the Hill Maize Research Project (HMRP) in various hill districts of Nepal. However, all the groups get some kind of support from the project and their number fluctuates between years.

The Government of Nepal has initiated a policy to encourage and strengthen farmer’s seed producers groups and piloted a District-level Seed Self-Sufficiency Program (DISSPRO) particularly for increasing the access of quality seed of released, pipeline and farmer’s preferred popular varieties at a reasonable price in the villages. DISSPRO is being run through the Department of Agriculture (DoA) through their DADOs network. Such groups are strengthened through the provision of revolving funds and grants to a limited number of selected seed producers groups each year in a district. However, these groups do not have the same characteristics of those helped by the PSP and its network of partners. The DISSPRO groups are not based on the demands of farmers so the groups tend to lack ownership, are subsidised more and, most importantly, they lack the basic skills in marketing as DISSPRO places no emphasis on this.  Until now more than 125 seed producer’s groups were formed through DISSPRO but many have stopped their seed production activities for many reasons. Ultimately most of the groups dissolved as they were not financially viable.

Key factors in the success of the CBSP in the PSP programme was linking groups with DOA/DADO, NARC commodity research systems and NGOs. The most important factor was establishing market linkages with seed entrepreneurs and seed traders. Adequate but not overdue attention was paid to technical capacity strengthening. Moreover, the groups are encouraged to mechanise threshing, grading and packaging to minimise costs and to improve the quality and presentation of their seeds. There may be a strong case for the capacity building of many of the groups formed under DISSPRO through training and interaction with PSP-promoted groups to make them more functional and sustainable.

Lessons Learned and Uptake Pathways

Promotion of Outputs:

The locations of the CBSP groups in Nepal are shown in Figure 1 and Figure 2.

In India, this approach is being adopted for the production of upland rice. This is centred mainly on Orissa but there are some groups in Jharkhand. CBSP in western India have concentrated on maize. Activities have been in Rajasthan, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh (MP) but now most of the activity is in MP with the Madhya Pradesh Rural Livelihoods Project (MPRLP).

In Bangladesh, the groups with PROVA are centred on several sub-districts of the High Barind Tract and the approach is being used for the production of rice and chickpea seeds.

Potential Barriers Preventing Adoption of Outputs:

A major barrier isa lack of awareness of the real constraints to establishing viable seed producergroups. Several efforts in the past by many projects over many years and the vast majority have ended in failure. Poudel et al., 2003, as part of the PSP research, reviewed the reasons. These were an overemphasis of the technical aspects of seed production since the people involved in the projects were largely seed specialists and extensionists and an underemphasis on financial and marketing aspects. Essentially, the concept of seed production as a business rather than a development activity was not grasped. No attention was paid to the strengthening of groups by helping to establish good cooperative arrangements among their members.

Lack of demand for seed may be an issue in the case of new varieties because of an inadequate supply of information on their advantages.  Promoting CBSP can provide added incentives to provide information to farmers about the traits and advantages of new varieties and result in more rapid dissemination of the farmer-preferred varieties.

New groups tend to be limited by capital to invest in seed and infrastructure. Start-up funds in the form of soft loans can greatly facilitate the process of forming and strengthening CBSP groups. Most of the CBSP groups face initial difficulties in financing the purchasing of seed and a soft loan or revolving funds are required for six to eight months.

Marketing is a vital issue for the seed business to succeed. More efforts are needed to impart marketing skills to many farmers and groups.

How to Overcome Barriers to Adoption of Outputs:

The most important factor to remove the barriers is the changes to the mindset that seed production is a technical, rather than a business enterprise, and that there is no need to try and produce groups that are sustainable even without outside help. Training of staff of government line agencies that have been given the resources to establish seed producer groups is required, and, to a lesser extent, NGO staff. Policy makers need to be brought into a dialogue on this issue in which they are rarely involved. There are substantial funds that can be tapped for seed production activities but norms need to be established on how to help seed producer groups at the start-up phase.

Seed production needs to be included as a topic in the course curricula of the Agriculture University.

Government policy should be favourable to such groups to produce, sell and distribute seed of all categories of varieties (released, near release, farmers’ varieties).

Lessons Learned:

Using the framework of J. E. Douglas (1984) for the lessons learnt:

  1. Relative advantage – farmers of CBSP groups have considerably increased incomes and also perceive that the technology embodied in the new seed has considerable benefits.
  2. Reliability – the CBSP groups have been established for a relatively short period of time but are delivering profits every year.
  3. Compatibility – farmers are used to growing the crops for which they are producing quality seed. It does not require significant departures from their customary agricultural practices. The need to work in groups is compatible with previous efforts when the CBSP groups are based on existing groups such as dairy or irrigation.
  4. Visibility – farmers can directly experience the benefits of belonging to a CBSP group and the purchasers of the seed can readily observe the higher yields and other beneficial traits of the new varieties.
  5. Divisibility – farmers can only be part of a seed producer group if they are willing to collaborate with others.
  6. Independence – farmers need to adopt this approach with others although there is a possibility of individuals also being entrepreneurial with additional land for crops not covered by the group.

Profitability of the enterprise is the most important factor that motivates others to participate. The lessons on group building and financial profitability have to be learnt by GOs, NGO and extension workers who have been involved in non-sustainable approaches in the past. Establishing better linkages between seed entrepreneurs and the groups is one of the most important factors in getting this research into use. Besides this, there should be policy influence on the policy makers who hold the traditional view of the need for strong regulations for seed when, in fact, deregulation is needed to improve farmers’ access to seed. Government monopolies in the seed business are undesirable and regulations need to be relaxed to allow the private sector and civil society to be involved.

Impacts On Poverty

Poverty Impact Studies: 

We have not commissioned any separate studies on the impact of CBSP but the following reports have some information on the impact.


Devkota K. P., Tripathi M. P., Gyawali S., Sunwar S., Poudel D., Shrestha P. K., Joshi K. D. and Witcombe J. R. (2005). Community-Based Seed Production: An Initiative for a Sustainable Seed System in Nepal.  Paper presented in good practices workshop, LI-BIRD, Pokhara (in press).

Devkota K. P., Gyawali S., Tripathi, M. P., Joshi K.  D., Gurung M., Poudel H., Chaudhary, M., Shrestha P. K. and Witcombe J. R. (2004). Community-Based Seed Production System in Rice: A Case Study of Unnat Seed Producers Group, Patihani, Chitwan. Nepal Agriculture Research Council (NARC) Summer Crop Workshop June 28-30 Kathmandu, Nepal.

Devkota, K.P., Tripathi M., Chaudhary M., Gurung M., Poudel H. and Gyawali S. (2006). Final Technical Report of R8071 -Participatory Plant Breeding in High Potential Production Systems-Validating PPB products, testing different breeding methods and scaling up of new rice varieties. Available at

How the Poor have Benefited (including gender and other poverty groups):

The CBSP system provides benefits to the seed-producer farmers and their groups and also provides benefits to the grower who use quality improved seed. The poor thus benefit in two main ways: directly those who are involved in the CBSP and indirectly those that purchase seed produced by the groups either to sell on (entrepreneurs) or to grow (farmers).

Direct benefits. These groups have a clear organizational structure and the members have defined roles and responsibilities. We assume this has helped in the development of human capital and the empowerment of the members of the groups. It adds to the capability of the community to produce seed of improved varieties.

The groups have also generated additional income for their members (Table 4).  There are over 370 farmers in the eight groups (Table 4). Given that businesses rarely make much money in the early years, the magnitude of this impact could increase substantially.

Indirect benefits: It is estimated that over ten thousand farmers are using improved seed produced and marketed by seven CBSP groups alone. The seed produced and sold is sufficient to sow several thousands of hectares. Given that the new rice varieties (PSP02 and PSP13) can give very high yield advantages the seed from the CBSP outputs contribute to the improved livelihoods of those that grow them; they include the resource poor, socially excluded, marginal and vulnerable farming communities.

Table 4. Income and expenditure of some of the more well-established community-based seed producers groups (group evaluation), 2001-2004

Seed producers group Total cost (US$) Total income (US$) Total profit (US$)
2001-02 2002-03 2003-04 2001-02 2002-03 2003-04 2001-02 2002-03 2003-04
Unnat Seed producers group, Chitwan 1925 7942 14085 2108 30 16901 183 1620 2817
Shreeram seed producers group, Chitwan 880 10451 1048 11570 168 1120
Devujjal seed producers group, Chitwan 929 988 59
Surayadaya Bahu Uddeshe Krishak sahakari Sanstha Ltd. Bela – 2 Dang 3225 3437 7028 6155 7070 14620 2930 3634 7592

Environmental Impact

Direct and Indirect Environmental Benefits:

Direct and indirect benefits:

  • The adoption of PVS process widely will reduce the national wastage of testing of varieties that farmers would reject in the end. This would reduce the un-necessary use of inputs for such a testing.
  • Increased productivity per unit area without the use of additional external inputs especially pesticides is environmentally beneficial.
  •   Increased productivity will reduce the pressure to increase the area under cultivation.
  • Varietal diversification will help reduce crop loss due to pests and diseases and thereby reduce the use of pesticides. Introduction of new varieties always increased on-farm diversity as farmers adopted many cultivars for different niches.
  • Cropping intensity and benefits will be enhanced if farmers are provided earlier maturing varieties.
  • The better disease and pest resistance of the new varieties can reduce the use of water and soil polluting agro-chemicals. Reduced use of pesticides and insecticides reduces the risk to human life and help create a more balanced pest-predator cycle.

Adverse Environmental Impacts:

Any adverse environmental impact is unlikely in the present case as the farmer- preferred new varieties or recently released or promising varieties are scaled up. They do not require any special cultural, management and production inputs.

Coping with the Effects of Climate Change, or Risk from Natural Disasters:

The CBSP approach aims to increase self sufficiency of seed supply and thereby increase access to a wider range of crops and varieties, both local and improved.  Adoption and use of early maturing varieties and short-duration crops will increase the resilience of farmers by making available extra time for other operations, reducing the costs of production, use of water and nutrients as well as, in some cases, increasing cropping intensity (two crops a year in the place of one). Similarly, crop and varietal diversification is a means of coping with climate change. A greater range of crops and varieties with differing maturities will increase options, spread water demands and reduce the risks from natural disasters such as diseases and pests and natural calamities.



Baniya, B.K., A. Subedi, R.B. Rana, C.L. Paudel, S.P. Khatiwada, D. K . Rijal, & B.R. Sthapit, (2000). Informal rice seed supply system and storage systems in mid-hills of Nepal. In: A scientific basis of in situ conservation of agrobiodiversity on: farm: Nepal’s contribution to the global project (B Sthapit, M Upadhaya and A Subedi editors) pp 79-91.

CBS (2005). Statistical Year Book of Nepal. Government of Nepal. Central Bureau of Statistics, Kathmandu.

Cromwell, E. (1997). Local Seed System Activities: Opportunities and challenges for regulatory frameworks. In: R. Tripp (Ed). New Seed and Old Laws. Intermediate Technology Publications, London, UK.

Devkota, K.P., Tripathi M., Chaudhary M., Gurung M., Poudel H., & Gyawali S. (2006). Final Technical Report of R8071-Participatory Plant Breeding in High Potential Production Systems-Validating PPB products, testing different breeding methods and scaling up of new rice varieties. Available at

Douglas. J. E.  (Ed) (1984). Successful seed programs: A planning and management guide. West View Press Boulder, Colorado, USA.

Evenson, R.E & Gollin, D. (2003): Assessing the Impact of the Green Revolution, 1960 to 2000. Science 300: 758 – 762.

Gauchan, D. (2006). Assessment of the Outcomes of Rice-fallow Rainfed Rabi Cropping (RRC) Project in Nepal Terai. A report of the RRC outcome assessment in Kapilvastu, Saptari and Jhapa districts, Nepal. Bangor, UK: CAZS-Natural Resources, University of Wales.

Joshi K D, Biggs S, Gauchan D, Devkota K P,  Devkota C K, Shrestha P K & Sthapit B. R. (2006). The evolution and spread of socially responsible technical and institutional changes in a rice innovation system in Nepal Discussion Paper 8 Wales, Bangor: CAZS-Natural Resources, University of Wales. Available at

Joshi, K. D. (1999). Small scale seed production in Nepal. A Research Report prepared for Overseas Development Institute, Portland House, Stag Place London, UK

Koirala, K.B., Gurung, D.B., Pokhrel, B.B., Acharya, G.P., Prasai, H.K., Poudel, R.  & Bhattarai, M. (2004). Community based seed production: Experience from Western and Mid-Western Hills of Nepal. Proc. 24th National Summer Crops Research Workshop on Maize Research and Production in Nepal. (Sherchan D. P. et al eds.). National Maize Research Programme, NARC, Rampur, Nepal

Poudel, D., Chaudhary, P., Chowin, K.R. & Ghimire, H. (2003). Seed production and marketing through farmers’ groups: Case studies. CAZS Discussion Paper 4. CAZS, University of Wales, UK and LI-BIRD, Pokhara, Nepal. Available on

Rajbhandari, N.P. (2004). Developing a strategy for a sustainable maize seed supply system in Nepal: Challenges, Potential and Options. Proceedings of 24th National Summer Crops Research Workshop on Maize Research and Production in Nepal. (Sherchan DP et al eds.). National Maize Research Programme, NARC, Rampur, Nepal.

Sperling, L. & Ashby, J. A. (1997). Participatory Plant Breeding: emerging models and future development. In: R. Tripp (ed.). New Seed and Old Laws. Intermediate Technology Publications, London, UK.

Tripp, R. (1997). Regulation and regulatory reforms.  In: R. Tripp (ed.). New Seed and Old Laws. Intermediate Technology Publications, London, UK.

Tripp, R. (2001). Seed provision and agricultural development, The Institute of Rural Change, Overseas Development Institute, London.

Annex 1.

Seed producers groups and cooperatives

Name CBSP Group/ Cooperative District Fund collection ($US )‡ Registered with Members Seed production focus§
Unnat seed producers group, Patihani CBSP group (CBSPG) Chitwan 66600  DADO 99 R, W, M, Kb, L, Rs.
Shreeram seed producers group, Parbatipur CBSPG Chitwan 33300  DADO 35 R, W, M, Kb, L, Rs.
Devujjal seed producers group, Gitanagar CBSPG Chitwan 13300  DADO 60 R, W, M, Kb, L, Rs.
Siddhanath seed producers group CBSPG Kanchanpur NA†  DADO 38 R, W, M, Kb, L, Rs.
Kalika seed producers group CBSPG Kailali NA  DADO 20 R, W, M, Kb, L, Rs.
Surayadaya Bahu Uddeshe Krishak sahakari Sanstha Ltd. Bela – 2 Dang CBSPG Dang NA  DADO 46 R, W, M, Kb, L, Rs.
Nawa Adharsha farmer seed producers group CBSPG Jhapa NA  DADO 45 R, W, M, Kb, L, Rs.
Radhakrishna Women seed producers group CBSPG Rautahat NA  DADO 30 R, W, M, Kb, L, Rs.
Jajaruk mixed farmers group Group Jhapa 533  DADO 20 R, Mb.
Bisal female farmers group Group Jhapa 467  DADO 25 R, Mb.
Pragatisil female farmers group Group Jhapa 667  DADO 25 R, Mb.
Triveni mixed farmers group Group Jhapa 600  DADO 21 R, Mb.
Deurali farmers group Group Jhapa 460  DADO 30 R, Mb.
Sinha Devi farmers group Group Jhapa 270  DADO 25 R, Mb.
Suryodaya farmers group Group Jhapa 200  DADO 14 R, Mb.
Bihani Agricultural cooperative Cooperative Jhapa 6600 DCA† 50 R, Mb.
Nawadurga female seed production group Group Sirha 200  DADO 24 Cp, Mb, R.
Nawajagriti farmers group Group Sirha 470  DADO 25 Cp, R,  Pp, Mb.
Jagriti Farmers group Group Saptari 200 DADO 17 Cp, R, Pp, Mb.
Nawa Jagaran farmers group Group Saptari 280  DADO 15 Cp, R, Pp, Mb.
Siddhartha farmers group Group Saptari 310  DADO 20 Cp, R, Pp, Mb.
Udaya Farmrs’ group Group Saptari 130  DADO 24 Cp, R, Pp, Mb.
Shree Mata farmers gruop Group Saptari 190  DADO 23 Cp, R, Pp, Mb.
Kalankari farmers group Group Kapilvastu 80  DADO 15 Cp, R, Pp, Mb.
Pratisil farmers group Group Kapilvastu 470  DADO 20 Cp, R, Pp, Mb.
Janajagaran farmers group Group Kapilvastu 200  DADO 21 Cp, R, Pp, Mb.
Srijana farmers group Group Kapilvastu 190  DADO 20 Cp, R, Pp, Mb.
Sahayogi mahila multipurpose cooperative Cooperative Kapilvastu 5300 DCA† 80 Cp, R, Pp, Mb.
Adarsa Agricltural cooperative Cooperative Kapilvastu 670 DCA† 60 R, Pp, Mb.
Kapilmuni Agricultural cooperative Cooperative Kapilvastu 640 DCA† 45 R, Pp, Mb.
Bhairav Babva multipurpose seed production group Group Tanahun 330  DADO 35 R, M, Mb.

§R = rice; W = wheat; M = maize; L = lentil; Cp = chickpea; Kb = kidney bean; Mb = mungbean; Rs = rapeseed.
†District Cooperative Association

Annex 2.

A novel way of seed production and marketing:
Case study of Unnat Seed Producer Group, Chitwan, Nepal

With the technical and logistic support from LI-BIRD, a Community Based Seed Producers’ group (CBSPG) named Unnat Seed Producer’s Group was formed in September 2002 at Patihani Village Development Committee (VDC) and was officially registered with DADO Chitwan. Objectives of this group were: to encourage and strengthen local level seed production and marketing to meet local and district level seed demand and germplasm exchange, develop small scale seed entrepreneurship and facilitate the development of huge seed market in future.

This group has 99 shareholders and a democratically elected Executive Committee and three sub committees (which are elected by voting after every two years), e.g. marketing, technical and advisory to facilitate proper seed marketing, maintaining seed quality for enhancing coordination and linkages with diverse partners and collaborators.

Initially they started to collect US $1.4 per member per month to sustain the group and initiate seed production activities. LI-BIRD organized on-the- spot training to all the members of the group on group formation and management, co-ordination and linkages with other organizations, book keeping, seed quality, marketing, certification, storage, and seed production technology of individual crops. For the first two years, LI-BIRD bought back the seeds from the group for project activities. From this, they earned some profit, and more importantly got opportunities to develop and strengthen their knowledge and competencies in the field of seed production, and marketing, quality control, development of co-ordination and linkages with other agencies and establishing marketing network. In this way, they have started their seed production activities and have produced 45 t of seeds of released and pre-released varieties of rice, wheat, maize and lentil and have earned profit of US $183 from selling those seed in first year i.e. 2002/03. They have gradually increased their seed production activities in the recent years and successfully marketed 74 and 258 tonne seeds of released and pre-released varieties of rice, wheat, maize, lentil, mungbean, kidney bean and mustard and have earned profit of US $1620 and 2817 in 2ndand 3rd years, respectively. Now they have established and strengthened good co-ordination and linkages with government organization like DADOs, and other government’s line agencies, several NGOs, Agrovets, other private and public organizations, individual farmers and farmers groups; and selling seed to these partners in more than 30 districts of Nepal. Recognizing them as organized and well managed community based seed producers group and for their outstanding contribution in the local, district, regional and even national level seed supply system, DADO Chitwan in 2004 awarded this group US $845 as seed money and for the recognition of their excellence in seed business, the group was awarded Gorkha Dakchinbahu Fourth by the King Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev. Directorate of Agriculture Engineering/Department of Agriculture started a large scale project with this group to establish and install seed processing, storage, harvesting, threshing, seed testing and other accessories. Currently, apart from the seed production and marketing, this group is actively engaged in research in emerging issues e.g. resource conservation technologies (RCTs) like minimum tillage, surface seeding in wheat production in collaboration and partnership with other organizations.

Generally, they produce truthfully labelled and improved seed of released, pre-released, other farmers preferred popular varieties and local landraces of different crops. They have their own bag, tag and other accessories needed for seed production and marketing. Seed quality is maintained by joint seed quality control mechanism i.e. seed certification, tagging, monitoring, evaluation, inspection etc is done by the formal seed sector officials, and also through capacity strengthening of the seed producers farmers by providing need based training, farm visit by the group members in the standing crop, seed quality verification from seed testing laboratory etc. For effective marketing, they collect demand prior to seed production, use local FM radios, newsletter, personal correspondence through letter, leaflets, website and participation in exhibition and fare for advertisement etc.

From the experiences, it is now established that governmental or non-governmental organizations working in the seed sector should adopt this approach of community empowerment to make the country self sufficient in seed within few years. This could be one of the best options to increase the accessibility of the improved seed in the country. Since groups are empowered, to some extent guarantee for sustainability.

Relevant Research Projects, with links to the
Research for Development (R4D) web site
and Technical Reports:

R4D Project Title Technical Report
R6733 An investigation into the biology, epidemiology and management of finger millet blast in low-input farming systems in E. Africa.
R6748 Participatory Crop Improvement in High Potential Production Systems in India and Nepal
R6811 Groundnut Rosette Disease Epidemiology
R7405 Development of weed management in maize-based cropping systems
R7412 Incorporation of local knowledge into soil and water management interventions which minimise nutrient losses in the Middle Hills of Nepal
R7445 Groundnut rosette disease management. Main Report. Annex.
R7542 Participatory crop improvement in high potential production systems – piloting sustainable adoption of new technologies
R7830 Integrated management of land and water resources for enhancing productivity in Bihar and eastern Uttar Pradesh
R7865 Scaling-up strategies for pilot research experiences – a comparative review
R8030 Finger millet blast in East Africa: Pathogen diversity and disease management strategies
R8071 Participatory plant breeding in high potential production systems – an evaluation of products and methods
R8084 Enhancing livelihoods and NR management in peri-urban villages near Hubli-Dharwad
R8104 Promoting potato seed-tuber management for increased ware yields in Kapchorwa District, Easten Uganda. Main Report. Annex.
R8105 Farmer-led multiplication of rosette resistant groundnut varieties for Eastern Uganda. Main Report. Annex.
R8219 Improved access to appropriate farm inputs for integrated maize crop management by small-scale farmers in Embu and Kirinyaga Districts, Kenya
R8220 Improving farmers access to and management of disease resistant maize cultivars in the Southern Highlands of Tanzania
R8221 Promotion of rainfed rabi cropping in rice fallows of eastern India and Nepal: Phase 2
R8274 Improvement of maize marketing through adoption of improved post-harvest technologies and farmer group storage: a case study of Kiboga and Apac districts
R8281 Linking the demand for, and supply of, agricultural production and post-harvest information in Uganda. Main Report. Annex.
R8406 Improving farmers access to and management of maize seed in the Southern Highlands of Tanzania – Phase 2
R8415 Dissemination of improved Phaseolus bean varieties in Tanzania.
Main Report. Annex.
R8422 Improving farmer and other stakeholders’ access to quality information and products for pre- and post- harvest maize systems management in the Southern Highlands of Tanzania.
R8422 Improving farmer and other stakeholders’ access to quality information and products for pre- and post- harvest maize systems management in the Southern Highlands of Tanzania.
R8429 Linking supply and demand in Uganda phase 2. Main Report. Annex.
R8435 Sustainable Potato Seed – Tuber Management and Marketing Through Commercialization (SPOMMAC).
Main Report. Annex 3, Annex 4, Annex 5, Annex 7 to 11, Annex 12.
R8445 Promotion of improved finger millet
R8447 Rice pest information management
R8480 The Good Seed Initiative – sharing the learning from CPP programmes into pro-poor seed systems in East Africa
R8498 Analysis of promotion and uptake pathways for CPH research