The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Global and Asian Seed Supply Chains


Trade in seeds is key to guarantee access to food across the globe. COVID-19 led to concerns that seed supply chains would be disrupted and that countries relying on imported seed would not have sufficient supplies for the upcoming season.

Focusing on the impact of COVID-19 from the perspective of seed companies and the formal seed sector, this study shows that the global seed sector was reasonably resilient during the crisis, although seed companies headquartered in the Asia Pacific region were more negatively affected than their counterparts in other regions.

The two main bottlenecks were the availability of staff in the seed production chain and in government administrations, and the distribution of seed to farmers. Building a more resilient seed supply chain will require policies to ensure the uninterrupted production and movement of seed during lockdowns; the further development of international seed supply chains; and the diversification of seed production. Digitalisation could also improve the availability of information on seed production and trade, enabling faster government responses to disruptions.

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