For sustainable agricultural growth and food security, production of quality seeds is a basic requisite, considering that the current supply is very low regarding the total requirement in Pakistan. This is why YPARD-Pakistan Local Representative, Dr. Shehzad Basra, organized one day workshop on “Capacity building in seed technology” in the University of Agriculture Faisalabad the 7th of June, 2014.
Due to the rapid growth of the private seed sector, the total number of private seed companies in Pakistan has reached the number of 766, out of which 5 are multinationals. The vigorous growth in seed business along with pesticides indicates the potential of modern seed industry in the country. Therefore, it becomes crucial to sustain the Pakistani seed certification and delivery program in order to boost the production of quality and certified seeds to meet grower’s demands.
Boosting Seed Technology
YPARD Pakistan organized this workshop –among other reasons- to provide information on certified seeds to our farmers, improve their knowledge about land-preparation techniques as well as to manage their farms. Moreover, different YPARD local representatives shared different experiences on how to sow seeds appropriately for sizeable production, according to the methodology provided by research centres like the University of Agriculture Faisalabad to reduce the food insecurity.
About 60 key stakeholders out of 225 participants from different parts of Pakistan participated in the workshop. Among the different presentations, it is necessary to highlight the one made by the Pakistan Seed Academy (PSA). It consists of a platform that organises regular training workshops to invigorate public-private partnership and human resource development in seed technology. PSA’s representatives stressed about the struggle to get foreign investment within the seed sector as well as the lack of unity of all the stakeholders under one umbrella to address seed related issues efficiently.
First Pakistan Seed Congress?
“In the current scenario, the establishment of Pakistan Seed Academy is a highly encouraging step to provide close liaison for public and private seed sectors,” said Dr. Shakeel Ahmad Khan, Chief Guest. Likewise, he explained that the Federal Seed Certification and Registration Department (FSC&RD) highly endorses the concept of Pakistan Seed Academy proposed by the University of Agriculture Faisalabad and will ensure its full support to the University for this initiative.
During the workshop, the Seed Association of Pakistan, the FSC & RD and Crop Life Pakistan agreed with the University of Agriculture Faisalabad on organizing the first Pakistan Seed Congress in the near future. With the support of Pakistan Seed Academy, this congress could attract foreign delegates and give a chance to our local seed entrepreneurs to interact with them. Furthermore, the presence of international organizations would definitely improve the seed trade in the country, as well as shape up research standards in quality seed production and marketing.
Pakistani youth, leaders of Sustainable Agriculture
Chairman Seed Association of Pakistan, Mr. Salman Mahmood Khan, highlighted the role of national seed companies in Pakistan seed industry. He appreciated the idea of Pakistan Seed Academy and ensured the full collaboration of national seed companies. Later on, Mr. Khaqan Babar, MD Punjab Seed Corporation, talked about the public sector’s contribution in Pakistan seed industry. He mentioned that the Punjab Seed Corporation is committed to supply high quality seeds of major and minor crops, at an affordable price to the farmers’ community in order to enhance national per acre agricultural yield.
The participants learnt a lot during this workshop and appreciated the efforts of the University of Agriculture Faisalabad on organizing this event, which represents the first step of capacity building for people associated with seed business. To conclude, Dr. Shahzad Basra, YPARD-Pakistan LR and Chairman of the Department of Crop Physiology at the University of Agriculture Faisalabad, encouraged the youth to be the future leaders of sustainable agriculture in Pakistan.
Picture credit: Workshop on “Capacity building in seed technology”, by Shahla Salahuddin.