Quick summary: Seed quality is the backbone of the food supply chain. The illegal seed market poses a threat to the entire world. Food security, sustainable agriculture, and farmers' incomes are set down without the proper regulation and management of the seed value chain. Traceability solutions help in addressing these challenges.
Seed is the fundamental unit for sustainable agriculture and India has a vibrant seed sector which has developed all along with agriculture through the years. Starting with the tradition of preserving seeds from previous crops, farmers have proceeded to develop a robust and integrated seed system. The public research bodies ICAR and CGIAR have contributed immensely with improved seeds for crop diversification.
Do you know that 50% of the seeds available in the markets are fake?
As a farmer would you still rely on the same? And as a consumer how do feel about this going forward?
In crop production, the seed is the most vital component. It determines crop productivity and improves quality and nutrients. Seed quality is the backbone of the food supply chain; it provides a platform on which the entity runs.
Seeds are produced by creating a nucleus with the potential to generate breeder seeds, which are then duplicated in vast numbers to form a seed crop. Seed quality must be maintained throughout the journey to achieve the target output under ideal conditions. Illegal seed practices like false labeling, counterfeits, misrepresentation and under-performing seeds have compromised seed quality.
From plant breeders, producers, processors, traders, and distributors seed quality has to be maintained. Good seed quality determines physical and genetic qualities like purity, viability, vigour, and health.
Purity: Analyses a seed’s physical characteristics, such as size, shape, and appearance. The absence of external substances such as pests and illness is determined by purity. Seeds that are too tiny or have fungal spots on them are deemed impure.
Viability: A notion in which seeds are examined for signs of life, more specifically, how the seed would develop into a normal seedling (germination) under ideal conditions.
Vigour: While viability measures the capacity of the plant embryo within the seed to develop into a seedling, Vigour measures the rate and ability of the plant embryo within the seed to develop into a seedling. It not only determines viability but provides the time and ideal conditions for germination.
Health: This focuses on seed production methods such as the use of natural and chemical-free fertilizers, seed disease resistance, storage, and transportation.
The illegal seed market poses a threat to the entire world.
Food security, sustainable agriculture and farmers’ incomes are set down without the proper regulation and management of the seed value chain.
Therefore, the seed market has to be vigilant and regulated to stop spurious and illegal seeds.
Spurious seeds in the markets have a threefold effect.
The farmer’s livelihood, the seed market in the economy, and the sustainable agriculture factor.
Jeopardizing the seed market takes place majorly through counterfeits and illegal seeds.
The seed market was valued at $58.5 billion in 2020; it is a fast-growing market, which has never-ending needs. To cope with such volumes, productions are being scaled up while maintaining quality. Safety and sustainability have become major tasks. Within the seed market, counterfeits, illegal seeds, mislabeling, tampering, adulterations, and regulatory offenses are the major issues.
Global challenges like climate change, food security, and pest resistance. Supply chain disruptions have made the seed industry very vulnerable and prone to uncertainties, with the farmers facing the brunt of these problems. Innovative approaches are required to feed the growing population and assure the farmers of a quality yield and consumers of healthy food. This would also combat the challenges that exist in the demand for growing sustainable food.
The lack of proper packing, labeling, tampering and recording of data has created a loophole for spurious seeds to get into the seed supply chain. There are a number of stakeholders in the seed supply chain and a trusted collaboration is a dire requirement. Traceability solutions provide end-to-end transparency through its digitalized data recording systems at each seed development process.
Check our 5 step approach to Food Traceability
The vast market and its variety of seeds have made it difficult to find and remove fake seeds. Farmers are facing difficulties in determining the quality of seeds because of false labeling, lack of regulation, and no proper standards. With the intervention of technology, stakeholders are being more aware of their seeds through backtracking and transparency throughout the seed manufacturing process.
Capturing the seed to shelf forward journey will bring transparency and visibility into the seed supply chain and assure the farmers of a quality seed for agriculture
Technology has seamlessly integrated the seed value chain and provided a configured system for smooth functioning by providing solutions across the supply chain.
Blockchain technology has emerged as a game-changer in the implementation of end-to-end traceability.
The entry of transactions from the source to consumption in digital ledgers enables authenticity and reliable tracking measures.
The decentralized, shared platform onboards all the stakeholders in the seed supply chain to build mutual trust and transparency.
The immutable ledgers avoid tampering with records and can prove as a single source of truth for validating the origin claims.
Professor Jayashankar Telangana State Agricultural University (PJTSAU) a state Agriculture University has partnered with various scientists to research seed breeding, core variety, and hybridizing it without genetic modification.
PJTSAU uses TraceX’s Blockchain-powered traceability solutions to trace the origin of seeds and their movement to distributors and retailers.
India one of the prominent seed exporters was dealing with hoarding, price fluctuations, tampering and a disordered system. The Telangana state was no different; hence TraceX’s Blockchain solutions targeted these issues,
The seed industry invests heavily in the development of high-quality seeds and hybrid seeds which concentrate on deriving more production from fewer resources and also improving sustainable agriculture. Digitization is the key to addressing the seed industry problems and beating the spurious market and getting a competitive edge and meeting regulatory requirements.
Technologies like Blockchain are a breakthrough in the food value chain, providing multiple facets of benefits across various aspects throughout the supply chain, assuring authenticity and trust, and building a safe and sustainable future. The decentralized nature of blockchain ensures that information cannot be tampered with, providing an immutable record of seed transactions. As technology continues to evolve and gain adoption, we can envision a future where spurious seeds become a thing of the past and farmers confidently access high-quality seeds for their agriculture practices.
Together let us embrace blockchain solutions and foster a more reliable and sustainable seed ecosystem for the benefit of all stakeholders involved.