Seed Sector And Sector-Oriented Investments

Liberalising the economy with the Seed Law and the support of seeds by the state has paved the way for private sector investments.

MAGAZINE 27.01.2023, 12:47
Seed Sector And Sector-Oriented Investments

“Seed” is the golden key that determines the success of agricultural production. The seed, which plays the most strategic role among agricultural inputs, will be in a more critical position than it is today as the number of people to be fed increases. These difficult times we are in, and the developments in the world have also shown that countries can't entrust their food security to anyone. Just as we are working hard to ensure our country's security, ensuring our citizens' food security is one of our primary duties.

As a result of the changes in the primary policies related to the seed sector in the 1980s and the enactment of Seed Act No. 5553 in 2006, a new model was adopted in the seed industry. Accordingly, the public-based seed supply system has left its place to the seed industry based on private initiatives. Liberalising the economy with the Seed Law and the support of seeds by the state has paved the way for private sector investments. This has enabled many seed companies to invest in the sector, and the Turkish seed sector has become predominantly private. In the private sector part of the seed, a huge employment opportunity has been created when agricultural engineers, personnel employed in other fields, workers working in maintenance operations, contracted farmers growing raw seeds, seed dealers and sellers are included.

Today, seed is a product obtained by using technology and has high economic value. The sector has rapidly developed in the last 40-45 years. The select properties brought to the seeds by plant breeding methods, applications such as hybrid seed technology and new breeding technologies, and techniques that improve performance properties such as gravity, calibration, spraying, and coating have turned seed into a truly technological product.

Today, the number of companies making R&D investments is increasing rapidly. Notably, the share of R&D investment in some domestic companies reaches up to 25%. These companies can compete in domestic and international markets depending on the varieties they develop and work types. However, most companies in the structure of small and medium-sized enterprises can allocate a small portion of their annual turnover to R&D due to a lack of capital. The course must be cleared by increasing the R&D capacity of the seed sector, which will take the country's potential much further than it is today. In parallel with these developments, the number of registered varieties has increased. As of January 2022, a total of 11,882 registered varieties have been reached, of which 4,984 are for field crops and 6,898 are for vegetables.

Areas where commercial competition outweighs, such as variety development, seed production and marketing, are the fields of activity of the private sector. The sector expects the public sector to collect and protect genetic resources as well as invest in research areas and infrastructure, which private companies cannot afford to do independently, even if they do, they cannot get a return on their investments.

In parallel with the suitable investments of seed companies, the use of certified seeds by the farmers and the increase in the number of varieties developed, the amount of seed production increased and 1 million 324 thousand tons of certified seeds were produced as of 2021. These positive developments in production amounts were also reflected in trade, and a foreign trade volume of 450 million dollars was formed in 2021. The balance between imports and exports started to develop rapidly in favour of exports, and the ratio of exports to imports became 95%. Türkiye's seed initiatives can only be self-reliant to a large extent, only by strengthening the research capacity of the private sector. Necessary support and incentives must be increased. In this way, minor, under- capitalised and well-experienced domestic seed companies can progress faster and have a more significant say in the domestic market, especially in the face of the advantages of the countries we refer to as developed in seed production, based on long years of experience.

Türkiye has achieved a significant level by making major moves in the field of seed since 2006. However, the competition in the field continues very intensely. For this reason, Türkiye needs a short, medium and long-term seed strategy that cares about human health, encourages planned production, is prepared for global epidemics, leads domestic production, attaches more importance to R&D, cares about competition with other countries, targets quality seeds and observes productivity.

Yıldıray Gençer

Chairperson of the Board of TSÜAB and ECOSA 

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