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PR No.60 Categorization of seed companies proposed in National Seed Council’s 16th Meeting Islamabad: July 11, 2019

The 16th meeting of National Seed Council (NSC) of Pakistan was held today under the chairmanship of Minister National Food Security & Research Sahibzada Muhammad Mehboob Sultan. Federal Secretary National Food Security Dr. Hashim Popalzai, Members from Seed Association of Pakistan (SAP), Secretaries Agriculture Departments of Baluchistan, KPK and Punjab , representatives of Federal seed certification and Registration Department, progressive seed growers/farmers from provinces and members international seed companies participated. Many important decisions were made in previous meetings of the NSC, such as procedure and guidelines for providing seed certification cover; Standards for crop inspection of agronomic and horticultural crops, declaration of seed categories (pre-basic, basic, certified and approved) along with Minimum limits of germination, purity and other parameters, minimum disease tolerance limits for major crops. The meeting is held after a lapse of considerable time, the National Seed Council is formulated under Pakistan seed act 1976 and Federal seed certification department of the Ministry of National Food Security is mandated to ensure the availability of certified seeds across Pakistan and registration of seed companies is also the responsibility of FSC&RD. All the provincial agro departments have their representatives along with public seed companies are members of this body. In 16th meeting of NSC, certification process of 19 verities of crops is finalized, which include citrus, mango, guava, olive, date palm, banana, pomegranate, grape, cotton, tomato among others. Two amendments were proposed and subsequently approved by the council in the Truth and Labeling Rules, 1991 (issued by FSC &RD), namely the introduction of “online certification”, the issuance of seed certification or release order by authorized officer (s) through online system. Second amendment approved pertains to the quantity of imported seed for trial purposes, earlier this limit was 10 kilograms but after deliberations it was decided that the area should be specified for targeted trial instead of seed quantity; that was specified to be enough to plant at five acres of land, this measure was to minimize the prospective hazards involving imported seeds. Secretary Ministry of National Food Security, Dr. Hashim Popalzai proposed the categorization of seed companies into “A”, “B” and “C” on the basis of the provision of quality seed. This, he said, will bring healthy competition on one hand and on the other hand will guarantee the provision of healthy seeds to farmers. For a company to jump from list “ B” to list “A” certain standards are to be followed and companies falling in “A” category would be given different incentives for their performance in terms of inclusion in subsidy schemes and others. Federal Minister National Food Security Sahibzada Mehboob Sultan said that it is a good step by the Ministry of National Food Security to revitalize the National Seed Council (NSC) and with cooperation from seed councils/bodies and provincial representatives we plan to strengthen the body and ensure the provision of quality seeds to increase the magnitude of production thereof. The Minister further added that we are moving ahead in the direction of zero hunger and the provision of best seed is vital for that to be achieved.

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