LAHORE: Recent heavy monsoon rains and floods have destroyed 30pc of the rice crop, especially in Sindh, says Pakistan Hi-Tech Hybrid Seed Association chairman Shahzad Ali Malik.

Speaking to the media at the first Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the body here on Thursday, he said the country was expecting around 9.2 million tonnes of rice production during the current season. But, stagnation of water due to the heavy monsoon rains coupled with floods in the rice fields for weeks in Sindh, the crop was destroyed leading to around 30pc fall in the crop yield, he said.

He called for increasing the use of quality hybrid seed to save the agriculture sector from total collapse. He said maize and rice, two of the five big crops of the country, were not only meeting the domestic requirements but also earning foreign exchange through exports as hybrid seed was being used for both the crops.

He regretted the critical situation of the white gold (cotton) in the country as precious foreign exchange was being spent to import lint for meeting requirements of the local textile industry.

Addressing the AGM participants earlier, Mr Malik said the association was in infancy stage having 102 members. He assured the participants that issues of the seed industry would be raised at every forum for their resolution. He also handed over a cheque worth Rs4 million to Al-Khidmat Foundation as flood relief donation and announced that Rs1 million more would be donated for the flood victims in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Members on this occasion raised the issue of free movement of wheat seed which was hindering their efforts to produce quality seed for the next crop.

Rice exporters Pir Nazim Hussain Shah, Sajjad Sulaiman Malik and others were also present.

Published in Dawn, September 30th, 2022

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