Seed World

Status Thailand: East-West Seed Encourages Increasing Seed Sector Ranking


At a high-level dialogue with government officials including Thailand Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak, Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives General Chatchai Sarikulya and other key policymakers, vegetable seed company East-West Seed encouraged the Thai government to improve the country’s global seed sector ranking. It’s ranked 32nd among 62 economies.

Bert van der Feltz, CEO of East-West Seed, cited the 2017 World Bank study “Enabling the Business of Agriculture” (EBA), which measures and compares countries’ laws and regulations that impact the business environment for agriculture. In terms of seed sector development, Thailand lags behind its ASEAN neighbor the Philippines (ranked #11) and ranks closely to Myanmar (#34) and Vietnam (#42). The Netherlands, a global seed industry powerhouse, tops the list followed by Spain and Denmark.

“We want to take part in Thailand’s improvement in the areas measured by EBA to develop the seed sector: plant breeding, variety registration and seed quality control,” says Van der Feltz, who was one of the chairpersons of the mission.

Van der Feltz cited the following measures as crucial to developing the seed sector: protecting plant breeder’s rights to ensure innovation; access to germplasm and benefit sharing; efficiency in time and cost to register new varieties; more robust variety testing and releasing procedures; better seed quality control and certification (third party or self accreditation); and seed labeling to ensure farmers of product quality.

The dialogue took place at the Thailand Business Mission, organized by the Europe-ASEAN Business Alliance to bring together the private sector with high-level key policymakers to learn more about regulatory trends and policy initiatives.

“As co-chair of the Europe-ASEAN Business Alliance, I was very inspired to see such active participation from European companies coming from a diverse range of industries,” Van der Feltz says. “This is so far our biggest business mission, and it showed the growing engagement and interest of European companies in Thailand and our commitment toward Thailand 4.0.

“It benefits all of us to create a positive business climate in Thailand. We hope to use this opportunity as a first step in strengthening the relationship between the Royal Thai Government and European companies. We are grateful for this opportunity to engage with the government leaders of Thailand and find areas for synergy.