The provisions regarding import of seeds and planting material are as under:
The EXIM Policy reiterates that all imports of seeds and planting material would be regulated under the Plant Quarantine Order 2003. Import licences would be granted by DGFT only on the recommendations of DAC. A small quantity of seeds sought to be imported would be given to ICAR, or farms accredited by ICAR, for trial and evaluation for one crop season. On receipt of applications for commercial import, DAC would consider the trial/evaluation report on the performance of the seed and their resistance to seed/soil borne diseases. DAC is required to either reject or recommend the application to DGFT for grant of import licence within 30 days of receipt. All importers have to make available a small specified quantity of the imported seeds to the ICAR at cost price for testing/accession to the gene bank of National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources (NBPGR). The import of seeds has to be cleared/rejected by Plant Protection Adviser (PPA) after quarantine checks within three weeks. The rejected consignment has to be destroyed. During quarantine, the imported consignment is kept in a bonded warehouse at the cost of the importer. While importing seeds and plating material, it has to be ensured that there is absolutely no compromise on plant quarantine procedures. Every effort has to be made to prevent the entry into India of exotic pests, diseases and weeds that are detrimental to the interests of the farmers.
An EXIM Committee was constituted in the Seeds Division to deal with application for exports/imports of seeds and planting materials in accordance with the New Policy on Seed Development and EXIM Regulations. The Committee meets every month, subject to tendency of proposals for import/export of seeds and planting material, and analyzes applications and furnishes recommendations to PPA/DGFT for issuing of otherwise of the licence for import/export of seeds and planting material. Exporters/importers are required to submit 20 copies of applications for export/import in the prescribed formats. The minutes of the EXIM Committee are posted on the Seednet Portal (http://seednet.gov.in)
As per World Seed Trade Statistics, India has sixth largest size of domestic seed market in the world, estimated to be at about 1300 million dollars. However, India’s share in global trade in seeds (import & export) is of only about 37 million dollars only. To give a boost to seed export, India has decided to participate in OECD Seed Schemes for the following categories of crops:
OECD Seed Schemes is one of the international frameworks available for certification of agricultural seeds moving in international trade. The objective of the OECD Seed Schemes is to encourage use of seeds of consistently high quality in participating countries. The Scheme authorizes use of labels and certificates for seed produced and processed for international trade according to agreed principles. The Joint Secretary (Seeds) in the Department of Agriculture & Cooperation has been nominated as the National Designated Authority. Further, Heads of Seed Certification Agencies in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Uttaranchal, Uttar Pradesh Haryana, Bihar and Assam have been nominated as the Designated Authorities under the Scheme to undertake certification work under OECD Seed Schemes. The department is in the process of completing other formalities under the OECD Seed Scheme guidelines before the certification work gets started.