The following are highlights from recent U.S. agricultural attache reports that are available on the FAS homepage at: http:www.fas.usda.gov/scriptsw/AttacheRep/attache_frm.idc.
Korea (Report number KS8107): During Marketing Year (MY) 1998/99, planting seed imports are projected to reach 10,000 metric tons, up from about 8,300 metric tons during MY 1997/98. This projected increase is due to the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisherys (MAF) interest in increasing forage and grass production. During the height of the economic crisis, the Korean livestock industry experienced sudden production cost increases due to the devaluation of the Korean Won and the industrys dependence on imported feeds.
The MAF expects that additional farmland will be planted with forage and grass seed in an attempt to limit the livestock industrys dependence on imported feeds. However, Korea will still be reliant on foreign suppliers for seed because Korea produces almost no grass seed and very little forage seed.
Koreas imports of U.S. seed represents about 54 percent of the total import seed market. During MY 1997/98 U.S. seed imports amounted to about 4,500 metric tons, down 3 percent from the previous marketing year. During MY 1998/99 U.S. seed exports to Korea are expected to reach 6,000 metric tons, largely due to the increased demand for forage and grass seed.
Korea implemented the Seed Industry Act in January 1998 which brought Korean regulations in line with the World Trade Organizations Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) and the Office of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) commitments. The Act also removed the Korean Seed Association control over the production of many vegetable seeds. Now domestic production of over 14 major seeds is fully liberalized.
Despite the economic crisis, investment interest in the Korean seed industry remains strong. In June 1998, Seminis, a U.S. subsidiary of the Mexican group ELM, purchased Heung-Nong Seed and Jungang Seed. Seminis now has 44.4 percent of the vegetable seed market, research and development facilities, and intellectual property rights of the acquired firms.
Companies from Japan, Canada, Germany, Netherlands, Australia, Italy, Denmark, and China are all competing for the Korean seed market. Japan is a major competitor in the vegetable\flower seed market and has been successful at entering the market through joint ventures and acquiring Korean seed companies. However, other foreign seed companies prefer to enter the market by establishing personal relationships with government officials, importers, researchers and end-users mainly by providing training courses demonstrating the benefits of their seed products.
The Netherlands (Report number NL8056):
The Dutch are major producers and exporters of a wide variety of planting seeds. They are particularly strong in the production of grass, pulse, sugar beet, and horticultural seed. The Netherlands is also the third largest supplier of seed in the world behind France and the United States.
Grass is the most important seed crop in the Netherlands. Over 75 percent of the grass seed produced in the Netherlands is exported. Acreage planted to grass seed in the Netherlands jumped 20 percent, from 20,000 hectares in 1997 to 32,000 hectares in1998 in order to rebuild stocks. The Dutch production of grass seed is likely to continue increasing due to improved crop rotation schemes within the Netherlands and the anticipated expansion of the livestock industry in Eastern Europe.
Area planted to vegetable seed has been trending downward in the Netherlands since 1995 due to a shift in seed production to other European Union countries, the United States, and Asia. Subsidiaries of Dutch seed companies were established in these regions to take advantage of ecological conditions that are more favorable to particular seed types.
Despite the Netherlands and the European Unions reluctance to fully accept biotechnology, the Dutch seed industry (which has traditionally concentrated on the development and distribution of high quality seeds) is beginning to focus on modern biotechnology. There are many companies in the Netherlands researching and developing transgenic seed products. Some research is concentrating on understanding better the process of ripening and discoloration of fruits and vegetables in hopes of improving product quality.
NOTE: Subscriptions for U.S. Planting Seed Trade will no longer be made available. As subscribers were informed in a November 1998 letter from the National Technical Information Service, the November 1998 report will be the last hard copy issue published by FAS. However, the report will continue to be made available to the public on the FAS homepage at: http://www.fas.usda.gov/currwmt.html.
For more information on U.S. Planting Seed Trade you may contact Mark Rasmussen at (202) 720-9497
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Planting Seed Exports July-September in Adobe PDF Format or Lotus 123
Planting Seed Imports July-September in Adobe PDF Format or Lotus 123