Caretaker Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Dr Kauser Abdullah Malik chaired a meeting on the Seed System of Pakistan on Tuesday and reviewed its challenges and future prospects.
The meeting was attended by all the main stakeholders of the Seed Sector from all over Pakistan. The country Chief of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Pakistan presented the salient points of the recently launched documents on the National Seed Sector: Prospects and Challenges.
The report highlighted that the regulatory system in Pakistan is improving but due to weak enforcement, it is unable to attract foreign companies in the seed sector. Moreover, the national breeders’ intellectual property right is being pirated. The Seed Amendment Act of 2015 liberalized the seed sector resulting in mushroom growth of domestic private seed companies.
The extensive consultation was carried out to streamline the seed sector by using advanced genomic technologies as well as of IT system for transparency. The Ministry of National Food Security & Research has already launched the Trace & Track System for wheat crop which is from farm to farmer.
Dr Malik said that the government is committed to uplifting agro-based industry in the country as the solution to all our economic woes lies in the development of the agriculture sector. He further said that there is a need for a uniform regulatory regime across all crop varieties to encourage & improve the seed system in Pakistan. It has been observed that poor seed quality and widespread sale of unapproved varieties is resulting in low yield, he added.
He said that there is a large gap of 66 percent between the supply and demand of certified seeds in the country. He added that we should also develop a National Seed Policy, strategy, and a plan for implementation to get long-term positive results with consensus. The public-private dialogue is necessary to optimize the seed supply system, Dr Malik said further.
He said that the increase in public sector investment and incentivizing the private sector to invest in R&D will bring good results for the industry. The meeting also discussed the issues related to biotech seeds and resolved to settle this in compliance with national and international rules. Moreover, the principle of history of safe use will also be included in the approval process.
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