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Govt warned of imported seeds’ negative impact

VEHARI-The Seed Association of Pakistan (SAP) flayed the government’s “anti-farmers” polices regarding import of seeds, and said that it would have a negative impact on the agriculture sector of the country.
SAP Chairman Ch Asif Ali said the sale of untested imported seeds through auction is heinous crime thus the government should not exceed beyond its mandate.
He said that Pakistan’s indigenous production of seeds for various crops such cotton, wheat, rice, sugarcane and fodder are second to none in the world. The federal and provincial government should therefore strengthen the local research institutes and encourage them to locally produce seed of crops that are being imported like “Sorghum-Sudan Grass’’ and “Maize Hybrids’, he demanded. This will not only save the national exchequer but also play an effective role in developing the agricultural economy of the country, he added.
Even if the import of the foreign seed is an essential, it should only be imported after testing so that negative effects of these crops could be avoided, he said. “We should learn from similar failed experiments in the past. In 1970, “Delta Pine” cotton imported from US and wheat from India produced catastrophic results on the agriculture sector in Pakistan, he said.
The pests affecting these crops were never seen in the region before and had devastating effects, therefore any similar policy to import seed should be well planned, he suggested. Relevant institution, farmer’s organisations and the Seed Association of Pakistan should be taken into confidence and their input should be measured before taking any decision, he said. He expressed his reservations and stated, “We should learn from Russia wheat crisis. We should strengthen our local research institutes so that we can participate in the national development.”

Source: The Nation

Byline: Babar Zaman

December 8, 2016

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