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July 12, 2019

Govt proposes categorising seed firms on quality parameters

Business

July 12, 2019

ISLAMABAD: The federal government on Thursday proposed categorising seed companies on the basis of various parameters to not only improve the quality of the products but also promote healthy competition in a market that has mushroomed unevenly in the absence of strong regulations.

A statement said a proposal to this effect was shared in the 16th meeting of National Seed Council (NSC) of Pakistan, which was held under the chair of Minister National Food Security & Research Sahibzada Muhammad Mehboob Sultan.

The move is aimed at regulating one of the agriculture sector's basic input providing sub-sector, whose development, in terms of quality, has been hampered mostly due to a mushroom growth of seed companies in the country.

The categorisation of member companies of Seed Association of Pakistan (SAP) will eventually improve quality of seeds. It will also incentivise research and development activities in the agriculture sector.

However, according to a participant of the meeting, the government had introduced a preliminary proposal for the same and recommendations in this regard would be finalised after taking stakeholders in confidence.

It is learnt that SAP representatives did not oppose proposal of federal government and were willing to submit their proposals in this regard.

Earlier, in the meeting, Secretary Ministry of National Food Security, Dr Hashim Popalzai proposed the categorisation of seed companies into “A”, “B” and “C” on the basis of the provision of quality seed.

This, he said, would bring healthy competition on one hand and on the other hand guarantee the provision of healthy seeds to farmers.

For a company to jump from list “ B” to list “A” certain standards were to be followed and companies falling in “A” category

would be given different incentives for

their performance in terms of inclusion

in subsidy schemes and others, Hashim added.

Sahibzada Mehboob Sultan said, “It is a good step by the Ministry of National Food Security to revitalise the NSC and with the cooperation of seed councils/bodies and provincial representatives we plan to strengthen the body and ensure the provision of quality seeds to increase the magnitude of production thereof.

“We are moving ahead in the direction of zero hunger and the provision of best seed is vital for that to be achieved,” the minister added.

The NSC meeting was held after a lapse of considerable time. The NSC, which was formulated under Pakistan seed act 1976 and Federal Seed Certification Department (FSC&RD) of the Ministry of National Food Security, has been mandated to ensure

the availability of certified seeds across Pakistan.

The registration of seed companies is also the responsibility of the Ministry of National Food Security & Research.

In the 16th meeting of NSC, the certification process of 19 varieties of crops were finalised, which include citrus, mango, guava, olive, date palm, banana, pomegranate, grape, cotton, and tomato, among others.

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