Monday, 28 February 2011

10. Status and Scope of Forage Seed Production in Nep


10.       Status and Scope of Forage Seed Production in Nepal

Rameshwar Singh Pande

(Published in: Pande, RS, 1995. Status and scope of forage seed production in Nepal, Promotion of Animal Production through Research and development. Proceedings of the IInd  National Animal Science Convention August 7-10 1995, Nepal Animal Science Association (NASA), Nepal)

ABSTRACT:
            Forage seeds are the basic requisites to carry out forage development activities. Since 1980, Nepal has received over 12 Mt of forage seeds from overseas from various agencies. Forage cultivation and rangelands improvement are new practice among the farmers. Traditional knowledge on forage production is lacking in Nepal. After the intervention of DLS, Livestock Development Project from 1980’s forage cultivation and seed production activities had been popularly accepted by the farmers. At present, four government farms are involved in various kind of forage seed production. Over 20 different forage crops are grown for seed production. The estimated production of forage seeds is about 55 Mt in which 71 percent is contributed by private farmers. Major species grown by the farmers are oat, vetch, berseem, stylo, molasses etc. There is a lack of proper marketing and distribution program and quality control measures for forage seeds. DLS has been promoting forage seed production through extension and development activities. DLS has been launching Rural Seed bank Program to promote seed production at farmers level. It is estimated that about 1450 ha of lands is brought under fodder and pasture crops each year. The domestic production of forage seeds meets only 66 percent of the total requirements. Due to the diversified climate Nepal has potential to grow wide range of forage seeds. Proper attention is needed to promote forage seed production, distribution and quality control to meet the domestic requirements as well as to promote export orient market of forage seeds.

INTRODUCTION
            The production and the profitability of animal are directly related with its production potentials. The average production of animals in terms of milk, meat, power and other products are very low in Nepal. Low animal output is mainly attributed by the shortage of feeds. It is estimated that the feed deficit is up to 40 percent (Pandey, 1982; Rajbhandary and Pradhan, 1991; Pande, 1994).
            The major feed resources in Nepal are agricultural by-products and forage. Winter forage crops (oat, vetch, berseem) and perennial forage species (Napier, Stylo, Molasses) on marginal lands are increasing each year. Till now, about 0.1 percent of the cultivated land brought under forage cultivation and over 4,000 ha of pasturelands have already been improved (Pande, 1994). Though the area under forage cultivation and pastureland improvements are increasing, the pace of the development is very slow.
            Forage seeds and the planting materials are the basic requisites to carry out fodder and pasture development activities. Out of the total requirement of forage seeds a large proportion are imported from overseas. Domestic production of seeds is unable to meet the growing demand. Thus, the major limiting factor for the development of fodder and pasture production in Nepal is the unavailability of forage seeds.
            Since, the intervention of Livestock Development Project, in around 1980 practices of forage cultivation and seed production under farmer’s conditions are found quite popular. However, the practices of forage seed production is mainly to fulfill the owner’s demand or and alternative to fodder production. Whatever the seed are produced domestically, due to the proper mechanism for distribution and marketing most of the seeds are poorly circulated. To improve the feeds and feeding situation proper attention is needed to improve the production and distribution of seeds and planting materials.


Table -1 Major Farms involved in Fodder and Pasture Seed Production
SN
Region
Name and location
Major Forage Species
1
Terai
Pasture Trial and Seed Multiplication Farm, Janakpurdham, Dhanusa, Nepal
Berseem, Oat, Shaftal, Teosinte, Napier, Para and other
2
Terai
Livestock Feed and Seed Production Farm, Ranjitpur, Sarlahi, Nepal
Oat,Vetch, Stylo, Centro, Siratro, Lablab, Napier, Para and other
3
Terai
Livestock Development Farm, Gaughat Banke, Nepal
Oat, Vetch, Joint vetch and other
4
Terai
Goat Development Farm, Dhangadhi,Nepal
Oat, Vetch, Napier and other
5
Mid hills
Livestock Development Farm, Pokhara, Kaski, Nepal
Oat, Vetch, Teosinte, Seteria, Dinannath and other
6
Mid hills
Sheep Development Farm, Chitlang, Makawanpur, Nepal
Oat, Vetch, Cocksfoot, Paspalum and other
7
Mid hills
Sheep Development Farm, Panchasayakhola, Nuwakot, Nepal
Oat, Vetch, Cocksfoot, Paspalum and other
8
Mountain
Chauri Development Farm, Solukhumbu, Nepal
Phurcha (native grass) and other
9
Mountain
Livestock Development Farm, Dolpa, Nepal
White clover and other
10
Mountain
Livestock Development Farm, Jiri, Dolkha, Nepal
Oat, paspalum, Ryegrass, Cocksfoot, Sorghum, Teosinte and other
11
Mountain
NARC, Research Centre, Dhunche, Rasuwa, Nepal
Oat, paspulum, Ryegrass, Cocksfoot and other
12
Terai
NARC, Research Centre, Tarahara, Sunsari, Nepal
Teosinte and other


FORAGE/ SEED PRODUCTION ACTIVITIES
            Major institution of forage/seeds development.
The national institution responsible for forage development and seed production in Nepal, is the Department of Livestock Services (DLS). Other agencies involved in forage seed production are:
1.         NARC, Pasture and Fodder Division,
 2.        Department of Soil Water Conservation (DSWC),
3.         Institute of Agriculture and Animal Sciences (IAAS),
4.         Department of Forest,
5.         Lumle Agriculture Centre,
6.         Pakhribas Agricultural Centre,
7.         NGOs/INGOs,
8.         Private sector e.g. Palpa grass Development Association (PGDA).

            At present, about 12 government farms are involved in fodder and pasture development activities (Table 1). Out of these farms, only 4 farms are exclusively involved in fodder and pasture seed production. The first three farms are under DLS and are located in Terai, involved in tropical/sub-tropical forage species. Rasuwa farm is under NARC and is located in mountain and involved in production of pasture species. These farms are producing small amount of seed to meet their own requirements. Only a small amount is available for distribution among the farmers.

IMPORTATION OF FORAGE SEEDS
            Since 1980, Nepal has received over 12787 Mt of forage seeds under various projects. Most of the seeds are imported from Australia, United Kingdom and Bhutan. The sources and amount of seed imported by different agencies are presented in Table-2.

Table -2          Amount of Forage Seed Imported by various Agencies
SN
Projects
Year
Quantity (Kg)
Country
Major Species
1
DLS/NEP 85/007
1989
5200
Australia
White clover, Perennial Ryegrass, Cocksfoot, Berseem, Oat, stylo etc
2
DLS/RAS/ 79/121
1990
67
Australia/Europe
various species for introduction
3
DLS/LDP
1990
3320
Australia
White clover, Perennial ryegrass, Cocksfoot, Berseem, Oat, Stylo, etc
4
DLS/SLDP
1993
2000
Bhutan
Ryegrass, Cocksfoot
5
DLS/SLDP
1994
1200
Bhutan
Ryegrass, Cocksfoot, White Clover etc
6
DLS/HLFFDP
1994
1000
Bhutan
Ryegrass, Cocksfoot, White Clover

Total

12797


(Adapted from Pande, 1994)

FORAGE SEED PRODUCTION ACTIVITIES
            Forage cultivation and pasture improvements are new initiation for the farmers in Nepal. The conventional believe that livestock thrives on crop residues and scavenger grazing is the major limiting factor for the development of forage cultivation. A few years ago, due to the abundance of forest and grazing lands, farmers did not felt necessary for the cultivation of forage crops for livestock. Recently, the scenario has been changed, due to the increased human as well as livestock population, the available feed resources mainly the forests has been exploited to its detrimental level. The traditional livestock production system has been threatened and the productivity has been declined due to the scarce feed resources and over grazing. The large herds of animal has been started to change into smeller herds with high producing animals. The increasing demand for milk, meat and other products have led towards the rearing of high yielding dairy cross bred animals especially around the urban areas. For proper feeds and feeding to these animals practices of forage cultivation is felt necessary.

CONTRIBUTION OF GOVERNMENT FARMS
            The government farms are the major sources of forage seeds for the extension and development purpose. There are over 14 different species of forage crops grown at government farms (Table-3). The amount and the species of forage seeds produced by the government farms are presented in table-3.

Table-3           Forage Seed Production in Different Government Farms (kgs)
Farms
Oat
Vetch
Cow pea
MP chari
Teosinte
Dinanath
Berseem
Joint vetch
Stylo
White Clover
Rye
Cocksfoot
Paspalum
Others
Total
PTSM, Janakpur
2000
100




1500
50






3650
LFTP Ranjitpur
1500
100
100





30





1730
Livestock Farm, Gaughat
1000
100

100
300

100







1600
Livestock Farm, Pokhara
1500



2000
175








3675
Livestock Farm, Jiri
2000








25




2050
Livestock Farm, Chitlang
500








35




570
Livestock Farm, Solukhumbu
-







32

35



35
Livestock Farm, Pansaykhola
300













310
Livestock Farm, Dolpa
-













32
Livestock Farm, Dhangadhit
1500













1500
NARC, Rasuwa
300







5

150



465
Total
10600
300
100
100
2300
175
1600
50
30
37
210
20
60
35
15617


CONTRIBUTION OF PRIVATE SECTOR
            Forage seed production at farmer’s level is also being quite popular. Most of the farmers are producing small amount of seeds mainly to meet their own requirement. Only the surplus seeds are sold to the others. Commercialization of seeds is lacking. Some of the groups of farmers on community basis are emerging as a potential source for forage seeds such as in Palpa and dang districts.
            Palpa Grass Development Association (PGDA) is the only registered agency involved to produce forage seed production and marketing mainly of stylo and molasses grass. PGDA has been involving in forage seed production since 1984. However, the association was formed under the initiations of DLS, pasture and Forage Development Program in 1992. The amount produced at the PGDA is presented in Table -4.

Table -4 Seed Production by PGDP from 1986/87-1992/93 (Kgs)
FY
Stylo
Molasses
Desmodium
Total
1986/87
92
5
5
102.0
1987/88
194
44
83.5
321.5
1988/89
176
38
11
225.0
1989/90
386.5
166.5
15.3
568.3
1990/91
228
115
30
373.0
1991/92
181.8
152.3
34.3
358.4
1992/93
210
180
-
390.0
1993/94
350
250
-
600.0
1994/95
450
500
-
950
Total
2268.3
1450.8
169.1
3883.2

            Similarly, at Dang various Farmers users Group has been involved in fodder seed production since 1990. The major species grown by the farmers are stylo and molasses.
Forage seed production activities have been found to be initiated mainly in Terai and Hills of Nepal especially around the urban areas. Temperate pasture seed production is found around the established cheese factories such as Rasuwa district. About 18 districts are involved in forage seed production Table-5.

Table-5           Forage Seed Production at Different districts under farmers field (FY 1993/94:kgs)
Farms
Oat
Vetch
Berseem
MP chari
Teosinte
Dinanath
Setaria
Stylo
Molasses
Desmodium
White clover
Total
Saptari
200


30







230
Dhanusa
400
100
1000




30



1430
Mahottari
4000

1000








5100
Bara
4000










4000
Makawanpur
300










300
Kathmandu
450



6






456
Lalitpur
5000










5000
Bhaktapur
2500
25









2525
Palpa
-






500
800


1300
Lamjung
1150










1150
Banke
2500

500








3000
Surkhet
1500

100








1600
Manang
100










100
Jumla
200









4
204
Kalikot
500










500
Dang
11000
300
300




400



12000
Gulmi
50




10
7

6
3

76
Rolpa
-




6
5




19
Other



8








Total
33850
435
2900
38
6
16
12
930
806
3
4
39000

            The estimated production of different forage seeds are about 54, 617 kgs in which 29 percent of the total seeds are produced at government farms. It is estimated that about 71 percent of the total forage seeds produced in Nepal are contributed by the private farmers. About 11 species of different forage species are grown by farmers. Major species grown are oat, vetch berseem, stylo and others (Table-6).

Table-6 Forage Seed Production in Government VS Private Sector
SN
Crops
Total (Kg)
Government

Private




Amount (Kg)
%
Amount (Kg)
%
1
Oat
44450
10600
23.8
33850
75.2
2
Vetch
737
300
40.8
435
59.2
3
Berseem
4500
1600
35.6
2900
64.4
4
Cow pea
100
100
100


5
MP Chari
138
100
72.5
38
27.5
6
Teosinte
2306
2300
99.7
6
6.3
7
Dinanath
191
175
91.6
16
8.4
8
Seteria
12


12
100
9
Joint Vetch
50
50
100


10
Desmodium
3


3
100
11
Stylo
960
30
3.1
930
96.9
12
Molasses
806


806
100
13
White clover
41
37
90.2
4
9.8
14
Rye grass
210
210



15
Paspalum
60
60



16
Cocksfoot
20
20



17
Phurcha
35
35




Total
54617
15617
28.6
39000
71.4

EXISTING MARKET AND MARKETING OF FORAGE SEEDS
Government policies
            There is no clear cut distribution and marketing program for forage seeds and planting materials. The seeds and the planting materials produced at different government farms are sold to the government agencies e.g. district level offices, who later distributes the seeds as a minikit to the farmers free of cost or sell them to the farmers at government rate.
            To promote forage cultivation and pasture improvements DLS and other organisation have been distributing forage seeds and planting materials free of cost as a minikit packets. Such a packet contains sufficient amount of seed for approximately 500 sq m area and required amount of fertilisers and inoculums if any. For example, the berseem minikit contains about 200 gm of seeds and inoculums. Similarly, oat minikit contains 2 kgs of seeds. In 1990, over 2550 packets of minikit were distributed alone by the Janakpur Seed Multiplication Farm.

            The willing farmers/groups put their demand to the respective district offices and DLS district offices purchase the demanded seed from the concerned government farms. Usually the transportation cost is subsidised by the government.
            DLS has been promoting forage seed production and distribution through the establishment of “Rural Seed Bank”. Under this scheme, respective district livestock services offices initiate and coordinate to establish a users group for forage seed production. The group members contribute certain fees in the revolving fund. To promote the fund raised by the users group the respective DLS livestock offices also contribute Rs 3000 (US $ 60) to the fund. The user groups are recognised as registered seed producers.
            There is a lack of proper marketing for forage seeds in Nepal. At the private sector, three seed suppliers are involved in forage seed marketing. Most of the seeds are imported from India.
            There is no organised program for marketing of forage seeds. The usually practices for marketing of forage seeds are the personal communication between growers and buyers.

THE MAJOR CONSTRAINTS AND LIMITATION
Lack of Coordination
            There is a lack of coordination between the producers and the buyers. For example, it was observed that seed (oat) produced by the farmers of Kathmandu valley could not be sold and are wasted at home on the other hand the potential buyers of Pokhara region complained about the shortage of oat seed during the same season.

Poor quality
            Most of the seeds produced in Nepal are of poor quality in terms of purity, germination percentage and adulteration with foreign materials.

Variation in prices
            It was observed that the DLS price is not properly accepted by the farmers. If the demand is high the seed may be sold in higher prices. For example, the price of stylo seeds is Rs 250 kg (US$ 5) but it was reported that the stylo seed may fetch Rs 300-350/kg (US $ 5-6) in markets. On the contrary, when the demand is low the seed are sold in lower prices than the fixed on. For example, in Janakpur the berseem seeds are sold sometimes in Rs 30-35/kg (US $ 0.7-0.75). However, the seeds sold by the government farms in the government prices only.

Lack of Organised Markets
            There is a lack of national organisation for the marketing of forage seeds. The national institution i.e. DLS is much more responsible to enhance the production and productivity rather than to promote the marketing. The Agricultural Input Corporation deals with cereals and vegetable seeds rather than the forage materials.

Technical personnel
            The forage seed production is highly specialised and technical job. There is a lack of professional in the field of forage seeds production and processing. The seed being produced in Nepal either at government farms or at private sector are of unclassified types and the varietal purity had not been maintained.

RECOMMENDATIONS
Establishment of Resource Centre
            Most of the government farms involved in fodder seed production are located in the Terai (tropical region) only. Fodder seed production farm either of government or non-government sector should be established proportionately at different agro-eco-zones such as Terai (Tropical), Hills (Sub-tropical), mountains (Temperate).
National Forage Seed Production Policies
a)         A central level coordinating committee is needed to promote production and      marketing of forage seeds.
b)         The seed should be produced through registered growers (farmers) under the strict supervision of technicians.
c)         There should be a provision to purchase certain percentage of forage seeds by the government (DLS) grown by the farmers to promote the seed industry at farmers level.
d)         The foundation seed should be produced at government farms and should be distributed among the registered growers for multiplication.
e)         To control the quality of forage seeds and planting materials, rules and standards should be fixed by the government.

National Forage Seed Corporation
National Forage Seed Corporation should be established to promote production and
marketing.

Infrastructure and Manpower Development
Seed processing plants and the required manpower should be developed to promote \
forage seed production and distribution.

REFERENCES
Pande, RS 1994. Opportunities for fodder and pasture development and promising species in Nepal, II National Conference on science and Technology. RONAST, 8-11 June 1994, Kathmandu.
Pandey, KK, 1982. Fodder trees and Tree Fodder in Nepal. Swiss Federal Institute of Forestry Research Switzerland.
Rajbhandary, HR and SL Pradhan 1991. Livestock development and Pasture management National conservation Strategy Implementation Program, IUCN, Kathmandu.
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1 comment:

  1. The information provided is very useful. However, have you done any research recently on cultivation of forage seeds? If you do please share recent data as well, to see the improvement.

    ReplyDelete