(Sept 20, 2017)
President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF), President All Karachi Industrial Alliance (AKIA), Senior Vice Chairman of the Businessmen Panel of FPCCI and Former Provincial Minister Mian Zahid Hussain said agricultural production can be boosted by introducing quality seeds and reforms in this valuable industry that will not only ensure food security but will also raise living standards of farmers with provision of access of cheap edibles.
Around 760 national and multinational seed companies are allowed to produce and market seed but the informal sector remains the major seed supplier in the country which is hindering the green revolution in the country and keeping rural communities poor, he said.
Mian Zahid Hussain said that the informal sector provides approximately 23 percent of vegetable seed, 45 percent of cotton, 90 percent of wheat, rice and maize and almost 99 percent of the legumes which calls for the removal of weaknesses in the sector and improve coordination and collaboration among key players.
This sector is facing shortage of trained human resources, lack of research facilities, deficiency of finances, capacity issues in the concerned departments, want of effective variety protection, promotion of investment and means to increase the availability of quality seeds across the country.
These issues must be addressed to increase the yield through enhanced access of the farmers to quality seed backed by a fully functional certification system.
He noted that the country has a well-developed seed regulatory framework at the federal level which needs to be further strengthened to give a boost to the seed industry.
However, Mian Zahid Hussain said, strengthening the Federal Seed Certification and Registration Department and its capacity-building along with other stakeholders of the seed sector including Seeds Association of Pakistan is imperative for developing modern seed industry in the country.
Since the implementation of the devolution, the agriculture sector has adversely affected and the federal government has to cooperate to rescue the sector which has a major contribution towards ensuring food security, he noted.
He demanded urgent corrective measures as the performance of both public and private seed sector has remained below the desired level while quality seed does not reach poor farmers. He also applauded the role of Seed Association of Pakistan and demanded Govt. to address the issues of Seed Sector in consultation with this Association.