ISLAMABAD: The National Seed Council on Thursday discussed the categorisation of seed companies on the basis of the provision of quality seed.
The proposal of categorisation was put forward by Secretary National Food Security and Research, Dr Hashim Popalzai, who said the measure will bring healthy competition as well as guarantee the provision of quality and healthy seed to farmers.
Dr Popalzai explained that for a company to jump from list ‘B’ to list ‘A’ certain standards have to be followed. Companies falling in ‘A’ category would be given different incentives for their performances in terms of inclusion in subsidy schemes and others, he added.
The seed council – formulated under the Pakistan Seed Act of 1976 – held its meeting after the lapse of a long time.
The Federal Seed Certification Department of the Ministry of National Food Security and Research is mandated to ensure availability of certified seeds across Pakistan and registration of seed companies is also the responsibility of the department.
Provincial agriculture departments have their representatives along with public seed companies’ members of this body.
Minister for National Food Security and Research Mehboob Sultan, who chaired the meeting, described the proposed new measure a good step by the ministry to revitalise the national seed council and with the cooperation of seed councils, bodies and provincial representatives, the ministry plans 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 goal to be achieved,” Mr Sultan said.
The council approved two amendments in the ‘Truth and Labeling Rules, 1991’ framed by the federal seed certification and registration department for the introduction of ‘online certification’ – the issuance of seed certification or release order by authorised officer through online system.
The second amendment approved pertained to the quantity of imported seed for trial purposes. Earlier this limit was ten kilograms but after deliberations it was decided that the area should be specified for targeted trial instead of seed quantity; that was specified to be enough to plant at five acres of land, this measure was to minimise the prospective hazards involving imported seeds.
The National Seed Council finalised certification process of 19 verities of fruit and horticulture crops which include citrus, mango, guava, olive, date palm, banana, pomegranate, grape, cotton and tomato.
Several important decisions were made in previous meetings of the council including procedure and guidelines for providing seed certification cover; standards for crop inspection of agronomic and horticultural crops, declaration of seed categories (pre-basic, basic, certified and approved) along with minimum limits of germination, purity and other parameters, minimum disease tolerance limits for major crops.
Members of Seed Association of Pakistan, secretaries of agriculture departments of Balochistan, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab, representatives of federal seed certification and registration department, progressive seed growers and farmers from provinces and members international seed companies attended the meeting.
Published in Dawn, July 12th, 2019