ISLAMABAD: The Federal Seed Certification and Registration Department of the Ministry of National Food Security and Research has suspended registration of 204 companies in Punjab and Sindh.

There are total of 782 seed companies, including five multinational and four state-run, functioning in Pakistan. Punjab leads with the highest number totalling 644 followed by 96 in Sindh, 25 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, five in Balochistan and three in Gilgit-Baltistan.

Under the Rule 5 of Seed Business Regulation Rules, 2016, “every holder of the registration shall require to renew the registration three months before the expiry of the period already granted by the Director General, Federal Seed Certification and Registration Department along with progress report of seed business activities”.

While the Seed Amendment Act of 2015 says the “registration shall be deemed cancelled if the holder of the registration fails to do business for at least three years or the holder of the registration is found to be in violation of any provision of the Act”.

Secretary of Ministry of National Food Security and Research Ghufran Memon told Dawn that the companies whose performance is not satisfactory or fail to do seed business for a period of three years, these are declared dormant or inactive.

The ministry says services of the 204 companies have been suspended and subsequently registration of these companies will be cancelled by the Working Group.

The ministry has already initiated an exercise and thoroughly reviewing its directory of seed companies to weed out the dormant or those companies which are engaged in selling uncertified and fake seeds to the farmers.

Following the suspension, names of the 204 companies will now be submitted to the ministry’s Working Group for the cancellation of registration. Regional directorates in Lahore, Gilgit, Hyderabad, Peshawar and Quetta had been directed to stop providing services to these 204 companies.

The Sindh government has been asking the federal government to review its directory of seed companies selling uncertified and spurious seeds to farmers which resulted in low crop productivity.

Published in Dawn, April 18th, 2021

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