SAHIWAL, April 27: The Federal Wheat Commissioner has directed the Punjab Food Department, Pakistan Agricultural Storage and Supply Corporation (Passco) and district administrations not to restrict procurement, inter-district movement and storage of certified wheat seed.
The Association of Seed Companies of Pakistan (ASCOP) had recently complained to the commissioner about restrictions on the wheat seed movement and criticised the Food Department for banning the inter-district movement of wheat.
The ban was implemented through district administrations on the pretext the Food Department had to ensure that all districts meet their wheat procurement targets. The ban was also imposed on seed companies, which had proper certification from the Federal Seed Certification & Registration Department.
Showing concern at the ban, ASCOP said Food Department officials were violating the law in the name of ‘food security’. "If the present situation prevails, it will be difficult for us to provide seed to wheat growers for the next crop," ASCOP President Chaudhry Abdul Ghafoor said.
In response to the ASCOP complaint, Federal Wheat Commissioner Dr Shakeel Ahmed Khan wrote a letter on April 26 to the Punjab Food Department, Passco and district administrations, telling them not to restrict procurement, inter-district movement and storage of certified wheat seed. "The lifting of ban on private certified seed companies will ensure availability of wheat seed to growers for the next crop.
"We urge the Punjab chief secretary to make arrangement so that certified wheat seed movement is not restricted by police or food officials at the district level," reads the letter, also seen by Dawn.