KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah has said that his government was making efforts to provide quality certified seeds of improved varieties to growers at affordable prices to improve per acre yield.

The CM, who was presiding over a meeting of Sindh Seed Corporation (SSC) at the CM House on Thursday, appreciated the efforts of SSC in this regard and asked the corporation to grow such seed varieties which not only require less water but can also survive in case of a flood. Manila and Thailand have developed such varieties of rice which survive in floods, he added, and said that their seedlings survive even after remaining in water for eight days.

Mr Shah also directed the chief secretary Siddique Memon to look into the issues of SSC and give him a report so that the required funds could be released to improve its performance and clear its liabilities.

Earlier, secretary agriculture Shahid Gulzar Shaikh, while briefing the chief minister, said that there were eight basic seed farms of SSC. They include 2,898 acres at Lodra farm (Shikarpur district); 372 acres at Pai Sakrand farm (Nawabshah); 1,041 acres at Setharja farm (Khairpur); 122 acres at Kotdiji farm (Khairpur); 1,474 acres at Ghotki farm; 112.27 acres at Ruk farm (Ghotki); 100 acres at Sangi farm (Sukkur); and 110 acres at Lakhi farm (Shikarpur).

The secretary agriculture also said that there were a Rs443.767 million liabilities against SSC which include Hesco and Sesco bills, repair and maintenance of seed processing plants, as well as damages sustained at Lodra and Ghotki farms due to heavy floods in 2010.

Managing director SSC Dr Iqbal Saeed said that different seed varieties have been provided to growers. The wheat varieties provided so far are TD-I, Kiran 95, Imdad 05, SKD-I and Benazir, IR -3701 of cotton, and two varieties of paddy – Irri-6 and KS-282.

He said that during the last four years (2011-2015), Rs140.266 million has been spent on all the eight farms for developing seed varieties against which Rs286.448 million were earned. Similarly, Rs507.484 was spent on the marketing of the seed against which an income of Rs638.004 million was generated. In other words, during the above mentioned period, the SSC utilised Rs647.751 million against which an income of Rs924.452 million was generated. The net profit has been calculated at Rs276.701 million.

Those who attended the meeting included senior minister for finance Syed Murad Ali Shah, principal secretary to CM Alamuddin Bullo and other officials concerned.

Published in Dawn, April 22nd, 2016

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