Discussing a Sector-Specific Approach with Seed Industries on Access and Utilisation of Biological Resources

09 May, 2019

Following the business dialogues held in January 2019 at Hyderabad and Chennai facilitated through the Access and Benefit Sharing Partnership Project, businesses highlighted the need for adopting sector-specific approaches for the implementation of ABS provisions as mandated by the Biological Diversity Act, 2002 and detailed in the notification of ABS Regulation 2014. The discussions conveyed that the access and utilisation of biological resources by, for example, the pharmaceutical industries, was different from that of the agricultural sector. In light of such concerns, a meeting was held at the National Biodiversity Authority with the Federation of Seed Industry of India (FSII) to gain clarity on the nature of business operations in the seed sector and explore the possibility of adopting such sector-specific approaches as suggested.

This meeting, held on May 9, 2019, furthered the understanding of access and utilisation of biological resources by the seed sector in India and was attended by 11 participants who were representatives of the member companies of FSII. Dr K. P. Raghuram, Technical Officer – Benefit Sharing, National Biodiversity Authority thanked the participants for their support and explained the need for such bilateral dialogues between users of biological resources and the National Biodiversity Authority for the successful implementation of ABS provisions.

During the workshop a questionnaire shared with the participants helped steer discussions to understand the operations of the seed sector. Discussions focused on the access and utilisation of biological resources and the existing regulatory framework in the sector. Various players in the seed sector, from source to shelf were described, and their roles deliberated upon. The participants also provided suggestions to ease the application procedures of Form-1 applications by businesses and stressed the urgency of implementing changes in the application and approval workflow. The need for streamlining application procedures to facilitate faster processing of applications and ease of doing business was communicated to NBA. In order to gather further inputs from the seed industry, similar meetings will be conducted with relevant players and stakeholders.

Suggestions and feedback gathered from this workshop were also noted by the ABS Partnership Project. The meeting was co-ordinated and supported by Dr Shivendra Bajaj of the Federation of Seed Industry of India and the ABS partnership project.