Village-based tropical pasture seed production in Thailand and Laos – a success story

Michael D. Hare


Seed of 6 forage species, Mulato II hybrid brachiaria (Brachiaria ruziziensis x B. decumbens x B. brizantha), Cayman hybrid brachiaria (B. ruziziensis x B. decumbens x B. brizantha), Mombasa guinea (Panicum maximum), Tanzania guinea (P. maximum), Ubon stylo (Stylosanthes guianensis var. vulgaris x var. pauciflora) and Ubon paspalum (Paspalum atratum), is currently being produced by more than 1,000 smallholder farmers in villages in northeast Thailand and northern Laos, under contract to Ubon Forage Seeds, Faculty of Agriculture, Ubon Ratchathani University, Thailand. The seed is mainly exported (95%), with the remainder sold within Thailand. Tropical Seeds LLC, a subsidiary of a Mexican seed company, Grupo Papalotla, employs Ubon Forage Seeds to manage seed production, seed sales and export, and to conduct research on new forage species. This paper details how the development of a smallholder-farmer seed-production program in Thailand and Laos produced positive social and economic outcomes for the village seed-growers. In addition, the strong emphasis on seed quality, high purity, high vigor and high germination enabled pasture growers in more than 20 tropical countries in Asia, Africa, the Pacific and Central and South America, to establish more than 20,000 ha of pastures over the past 3 years.


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