SAHIWAL: Around three dozen maize growers of villages 15/11-L, 16/11-L, 33/12-L and 15/12-L have complained about poor quality seeds which neither grew nor pollinated.

Farmers feared ongoing maize crop will not equalize their input costs which is Rs 45,000-50,000 per acre. They demanded compensation and investigation why hybrid maize seed was not fully germinated in crop.

Farooq Javed, director of Agriculture Department, told Dawn because of temperature increase in previous days, maize seed did not fully pollinate. He said whole Sahiwal division crop was affected because it need 35-37 degree temperatures but in previous week temperature went up to 42-44 degree centigrade which was not good for maize pollination.

Maize is now the third largest staple food in Pakistan after wheat and rice and many farmers cultivate the maize crop twice a year. Most farmers use hybrid maize seed bought from local and four leading multinational companies. A maize seed bag is Rs6,000 to 7,000 per acre.

Noorul Islam, of village 33/12-L, told Dawn maize crop would grow in three months. Abdul Gaffar, of 15/12-L, who sowed maize on 16 acres, told Dawn maize variety ‘Sita’ was fully grown but there was no maize on it.

The same complaint comes from Haji Muhammad Sadiq who sew maize on 100 acres. He said maize plants have grown but 70 percent of them are without flowers.

“This means there is fault with seed which has not grown up accordingly,” he added.

This correspondence met dozen of farmers who cultivated ‘Sita’ and all of them complained about less or no flowers on plants and most of them confirmed they used multinational hybrid seed provided by four leading companies.

They said they followed instruction regarding inputs and weather but seed did not grow fully.

Farmers says the Punjab government and agriculture department must analyze the issue.

Published in Dawn, September 26th, 2019

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