National Seeds Corporation, fully owned by the Government of India, was established in 1963 to promote and develop the country’s seed industry and enhance agricultural productivity. Since then, the company has had a strong focus on the production and marketing of certified seed, encompassing both field and vegetable crops. Since the company’s establishment, the Indian seed market has become increasingly competitive, but the company continues to hold a solid market share. It supports the implementation of multiple government schemes by also working through its ten regional offices. The company also sells forage and cotton seed.
Access to seeds for smallholder farmers National Seed Corporation’s access to seeds strategy includes a focus on expanding its distribution network and increasing seed production. The company has an opportunity to expand its strategy to cover other aspects of ensuring access to seeds for smallholder farmers and to develop time-bound targets for its objectives.
The company provides limited insight into its position and activities related to genetic resources and intellectual property management. As it is important that seed companies contribute to genetic resources and intellectual property management that supports smallholder agriculture, the company could provide more insights into its activities for others to learn from.
Seed production activities in index region The company has seed production locations in India, where it involves external seed growers, including smallholder farmers, but it does not specify whether it involves other local players, such as farmer organisations and local companies, in these activities.
Engaging smallholder farmers in seed production The company involves smallholder farmers in its seed production activities and offers them formal contracts, of which it provides examples on its website. However, the company has an opportunity to provide arrangements on product prices and sharing of profits and risks, which are favourable for smallholder farmers in their contracts.
Social and labour rights in seed production The company does not disclose a policy committing to prohibit child and forced labour nor does it disclose a commitment to respect the health and safety of workers, either when seed production is carried out by the company itself or through an intermediary. Furthermore, the company does not disclose whether it pays its workers a living wage or requires its intermediaries to do so.
Packaging and labelling The company could disclose information on its packaging and labelling practices to meet the needs of smallholder farmers, including whether it provides package sizes appropriate for smallholder farmers and whether it provides local languages and a track and trace system on its packaging.
Quality assurance and after-sales The company has an internal quality assurance system to ensure germination and seed health standards. National Seed Corporation ensures that seeds are not sold beyond their shelf life through its dealer agreement and procedure for the disposal of expired seeds. After the sale of seeds, the company provides support to customers through complaint forms on its website regarding sub-standard seed and low germination. The company could disclose how it monitors its distribution network and prevents the sale of counterfeit seeds.