Concept of SAARC Seed Bank

South Asian countries are largely agriculture based. About 60% of the population of the region depends on agriculture for their livelihood. Contribution of agriculture to GDP of SAARC countries is around 16-30% (Bangladesh-16.33%, Bhutan 16.8%, India 18%, Nepal 33%, and Pakistan 20.9%). Among the SAARC Countries, India is the only country self-sufficient in seed. In general, Bangladesh meets around 40% of the seed requirements and Bhutan around 50%; while that of Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka is only about 12%. Afghanistan and Maldives also depend on imported seed, a small share it is fulfilled by domestic production.

Food security and nutritional security can be achieved only through seed security. The concept of SAARC Seed Bank is mainly targeted to achieve self-sufficiency in food and seed security of the SAARC countries. The Thirty-seventh Session of the Standing Committee (Thimphu, 27 April 2010) agreed on establishment of a Regional Seed Bank. The concept for establishing Seed Bank is the SA region was approved in 2011.

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