Climate tolerant seed varieties should be produced to increase per acre yield and boost the agriculture sector, according to Vice Chancellor Dr Asif Tanveer of the University of Agriculture Faisalabad.
At a joint PSDP project meeting entitled ‘Quality seed production and supply to the farming community to ensure food security in Pakistan,’ he spoke as the chief guest. He said that the project was intended to provide an enabling environment for advanced seed research, improved human capital and the establishment of infrastructure related to seed production to meet the needs of farmers, domestic seed companies and public sector institutions.
Dr Saif said the most important sector is seed production, which involves concerted efforts by seed experts and researchers in the field of genetics. He said that in seed development, we have to add genes that increase resistance to changing climatic conditions. To feed the rising population and resolve hunger and food security concerns, we must increase per-acre production. He reported that the country’s farmers are unable to obtain certified seed due to a lack of supply.
Planning and Growth Manager Irfan Abbas claimed that the project, for which the government has allocated Rs 764 million, will be completed in three years after consultation with stakeholders. According to him, the country has 900 seed distribution companies in operation. The strengthened relations between academia and industry would pave the way for He said that tangible work will be conducted on tomatoes, quinoa, wheat, and others in the project.
UAF Director of Research Innovation and Commercialization (ORIC) Prof Dr Zaheer Ahmad Zaheer said that by strengthening academic-industrial relations, the UAF was making every effort to solve farmers’ problems in agriculture. He believes that the project would help in the creation of a model seed production, processing, and distribution network to ensure a steady supply of high-quality seeds.
Dr Irfan Afzal, a UAF seed scientist, said the university had initiated a seed science degree program. He said that with the collaboration of the public sector, UAF intends to produce early generation seed according to specified guidelines issued in the Seed (Amendment) Act 2015. He claimed that by installing a processing plant (3-4 tons/h capacity) at PARS, UAF, basic seed of demand driven crops such as vegetables (carrot, spinach, okra, and peas), oil seed, crops (canola), fodders (berseem and maize), quinoa, and wheat will be produced and conditioned.