Pakistan’s Seed Industry Experts Discuss New Policy to Revive the Industry
The Ministry of National Food Security and Research (MNFSR) presented a draft policy for Pakistan’s Seed Industry on 13 November, at a workshop organized with support from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). “A competitive seed sector is the prime mover of agriculture sector, and we should join hands to set a direction to meet expectation of our farmers in provision of good quality seed,” noted Minister Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan addressing representatives of public and private sector organizations as well as donor community.
Seed is a strategic input for the agriculture sector; however, current supply satisfies only 23 percent of the country’s need; besides, quality seed does not reach poor farmers. While the local availability of certified seed for wheat, rice, cotton and maize is satisfactory, most of the seed needs for vegetables, fodder and oil seed crops, are met by imports. Pakistan’s seed industry includes 760 private-sector seed companies (including 5 multinationals) and employs approximately 50,000 people. The sector faces a number of challenges, from insufficient supply of early generation seed by the public sector, to outdated laws limiting the role of the private sector, lack of skilled professionals and poor collaboration between the public and the private sector players.
The workshop will serve as a forum to gather views and recommendations of the key stakeholders on the draft National Seed Policy. The policy was drafted by the Federal Seed Certification and Registration Department of MNFSR as a guiding document for transforming the seed industry into a modern, self-sustaining, self-regulating entrepreneurial sector which can identify needs, establish priorities and take actions to ensure seed supply both for local consumption and for export. The draft policy proposes measures for improving the quality and quantity of seed for various crops and for creating an enabling environment for all the stakeholders in the seed industry; it also aims to ensure that the quality seed of new varieties reaches the resource poor farmers promptly and efficiently.
“Pakistan needs to rethink, revive and revitalize its seed industry to cater to the needs of its growing population and to address food insecurity,” said FAO Representative for Pakistan, Patrick T. Evans. Under a development project sponsored by the Turkish government, FAO collaborates with the Ministry’s Federal Seed Certification and Registration Department to strengthen the seed industry.