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Seed Import Export Policy and Rules in India

Seed Import Export Policy and Rules in India

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Export and Import (EXIM) Policy 2002-07

The Export and Import (EXIM) Policy 2002-07 and amendments thereto govern the export/import of seeds and planting material. 

Export restrictions on all cultivated types of seeds were lifted on April 1, 2002, with the exception of the following:

  1. Wild  varieties or breeder or foundation;
  2. Onion, rubber, berseem, cashew, nux vomica, pepper cuttings, sandalwood, saffron, sandalwood, saffron, neem, wild ornamental plants and forestry species

  3. Niger exports, which are facilitated through TRIFED, NAFED, and other mechanisms.
  4. Groundnuts, whose exports are subject to mandatory contract registration with APEDA;

The export of these seeds is restricted and only permitted on a case-by-case basis under a licence given by the Director General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) based on the Department of Agriculture and Cooperation’s recommendations.

The following are the rules for importing seeds and planting materials:

(a) Import of seeds, tubers, bulbs, cuttings, and saplings of vegetables, flowers, and fruits is permitted without a licence under the Plant Quarantine (Order), 2003, and amendments thereto.

(b) ICAR, for example, may import seeds, planting supplies, and living plants without a licence if the Ministry of Agriculture specifies the conditions;

(c) Import of potato seeds/tubers, garlic, fennel, coriander, cumin, and other spices is permitted under the import permit granted under the PQ Order, 2003.

(d) Seeds of wheat, rye, barley, oat, maize, rice, millet, jowar, bajra, ragi, other cereals, soybean, groundnut, linseed, palmnut, cotton, castor, sesamum, mustard, safflower, clover, jojoba, and other plants are allowed to be imported without a licence under the New Policy on Seed Development, 1988, and in accordance with the import

The Plant Quarantine Order 2003 will regulate all imports of seeds and planting material, according to the EXIM Policy. DGFT would only issue import licences based on DAC’s recommendations.

A small number of seeds intended for import would be delivered to ICAR or farms approved by ICAR for one crop season of testing and evaluation. 

DAC would examine the trial/evaluation report on the seed’s performance and resistance to seed/soil-borne diseases when receiving applications for commercial import.

 Within 30 days of receiving the application, the DAC must either reject it or suggest it to the DGFT for an import licence. All importers must make a limited amount of imported seeds accessible to the ICAR at cost for testing and accession to the National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources’ gene bank (NBPGR).

After quarantine checks, the import of seeds must be cleared or denied by the Plant Protection Adviser (PPA) within three weeks. The rejected shipment must be discarded. The imported cargo is housed in a bonded facility at the importer’s expense during quarantine. 

When importing seeds and plating material, it is critical to ensure that plant quarantine regulations are adhered to to the letter. Every effort must be taken to prevent exotic pests, illnesses, and weeds from entering India and posing a threat to farmers’ interests.

In accordance with the New Policy on Seed Development and EXIM Regulations, an EXIM Committee was established in the Seeds Division to handle applications for exports/imports of seeds and planting materials.

The Committee meets once a month, depending on the volume of proposals for seed and planting material import/export, to review applications and make recommendations to the PPA/DGFT on whether or not to provide a licence for seed and planting material import/export. 

Exporters and importers must provide 20 copies of their export/import applications in the appropriate formats. The EXIM Committee’s minutes are available on the Seednet Portal (

According to World Seed Trade Statistics, India is the world’s sixth largest domestic seed market, valued at around 1300 million dollars. India’s contribution of worldwide seed trade (import and export) is, however, only about 37 million dollars. India has opted to join in the OECD Seed Schemes for the following crop categories in order to promote seed exports:

  • Grasses and legumes
  • Crucifers and other oil or fibre species
  • Cereals
  • Maize and sorghum
  • Vegetables

One of the international frameworks available for certification of agricultural seeds moving in international trade is the OECD Seed Schemes. The OECD Seed Schemes’ goal is to encourage the use of consistently high-quality seeds in member nations.

The Scheme permits the use of labels and certificates for the seed that has been grown and processed for international trade in accordance with agreed-upon standards. The National Designated Authority has been nominated by the Joint Secretary (Seeds) of the Department of Agriculture and Cooperation.

Heads of Seed Certification Agencies in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Uttaranchal, Uttar Pradesh Haryana, Bihar, and Assam have also been named as Designated Authorities under the Scheme to carry out certification work under the OECD Seed Schemes. Before beginning the certification procedure, the department is completing various formalities in accordance with the OECD Seed Scheme rules.

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Sunil is the founder of Prettywings Digital. He is a passionate Blogger and a successful Ecommerce Seller. He loves sharing his knowledge through his various blogs and YouTube channels.

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