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KP govt approves maize hybrid seeds to promote agriculture

Corn production to increase by 200,000 metric tonnes in province

PESHAWAR: To increase the production of maize crop and provide the best quality seed compatible with local environment to farmers, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI)-led Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has approved four different hybrid seeds of corns produced by private companies.

The approved varieties include three white and a yellow namely Corn Single-cross (CS-200), CS-220, CS-2Y10. The fourth variety is named after the former Agriculture Minister Israrullah Gandpur Shaheed – Israr Shaheed hybrid. Israrullah was a PTI member from Dera Ismail Khan and younger brother of the current agriculture minister. He was martyred in a suicide attack in October 2013.

The first three kinds of seeds have been produced by Petal Seed Company, a leading firm of seed production in the province, while the fourth one by Hi-Sell company. The approval was given by a high-level meeting chaired by Minister for Agriculture Ikramullah Gandapur.

After the approval the local seed companies would be able to produce and distribute the locally produced hybrid seed on commercial grounds, lessening the monopoly of the multi-national companies. Earlier, the seeds used to be imported to the province by the multi-national companies of the basis of two-year “adoptability data.”

The chief operating officer of Petal Seed Company, Mohammad Mushtaq Safi gave a detailed presentation to the meeting attended by all the top officials of the Agriculture Department including secretary, all director generals, vice-chancellor Agriculture University and two leading farmers from the province, who are members of provincial seed council.

Talking to The News, Mushtaq said that the approval to the hybrid-seeds would certainly go a long way towards multiplying the production of maize in the province. He termed the decision as a good step by the provincial government for promotion of agriculture and increase in the production of grain in the province.

Mohammad Mushtaq said that the approved hybrid seed was adaptable to local environment and it would multiply the production of maize. The seed, according to him would also be easily available to the farmers at cheaper prices.

“As the seed is produced locally, it would be resistant to harsh environment, disease and heat-tolerant. The crop would not be affected even if the temperature is too high,” he remarked. He added that the seed is the best suited to the soil in the province and it would give maximum yield with lowest input – fertilizers, pesticides.

Also, the hybrid-seeds would increase the yield of maize by 1,000 kilogram per acre, he added. He said that maize is cultivated on 800,000 acres of land in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. If the hybrid-seed is sown on only 20 percent of the total land, the yield would be increased by 200,000 metric tons.

About Petal Seed Company, he said that the company had filled the huge gap in the primary sector in the country with the creation and production of genetic material. It is the only private sector national company that conducts primary research in breeding of hybrid seed.

“We have processing unit and a seed testing lab of international standard, which processes quality seed. This is the third unit of its kind in the entire country. Some 90 new white hybrids and 70 yellow seed would be produced soon for commercial production across the country,” he said.

By: Yousuf Ali

Source: The NEWS

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