PHHSA welcomes PM’s multiple measures for agriculture, seed sectors

Lahore (Nut Desk)

The Pakistan Hi-tec Hybrid Seed Association (PHHSA) has hailed the multiple measures announced by prime minister Shehbaz’s to boost the country’s ailing agriculture economy and underdeveloped seed sector in his inaugural speech on the floor of the national assembly after assuming charge of his office on March 3. Speaking at a joint press conference along with LCCI President Kashif Anwar at the LCCI on Monday, PHHSA Chairman Shahzad Ali Malik said that the pronouncements made by the premier underscored his government’s deep commitment with the agriculture and seed sector. “Agriculture is the main pillar of Pakistan’s economy, and the seed sector is the backbone of the agriculture economy. We, therefore, strongly appreciate the premier’s plans to import the world’s best quality, high-yield seed to enhance the farm output, as well as his commitment to take action against seed mafia responsible for wheat hoarding, cotton ginners selling banola as seed, and others who violate rules, regulations and code of ethics.” LCCI President Kashif Anwar also appreciated the government resolve the economic challenges through sectoral reforms and support. He said that increase in yield is dire need of the hour. He said that focus on agriculture will not only help end poverty from the country but it would help us earn much needed foreign exchange. The PHHSA welcomed the government initiative to set up a dedicated, autonomous body — National Seed Development & Regulatory Authority (NSDRA) — and the appointment of a professional like Dr Asif Ali Khan (Tamgha-e-Imtiaz), who has a successful record in research and management as its chairman. Applauding the vision of Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) and its Green Pakistan Initiative for bringing barren land of Cholistan under cultivation, the chairman stressed the need to bring the area under cultivation as well as increase per acre crop output through the use of high-yielding quality seed as very rightly addressed by the Prime Minister in his maiden speech. Shahzad Ali Malik, who has pioneered hybrid seed technology in Pakistan with the support of the top Chinese scientists, pointed out that transfer of hybrid technology, development of seed varieties through extensive local R&D had helped boost the country’s rice exports by 600 percent from just $462 million to $3 billion in 20 years. “We are optimistic to cross $5bn by 2027 due to surplus production of rice,” he added. He also drew the attention of the authorities towards the fact that out of five major field crops cotton, wheat, rice, maize and sugarcane, only two crops — rice and maize — are producing surplus for exports due to adoption and localization of hybrid technology. “By replicating the hybrid rice success story, we can achieve import substitution of approximately $10bn in cotton, wheat, edible oil, pulses etc. as well as have surplus production for export. He however regretted that in spite of its enormous contributions towards agriculture, exports and poverty alleviation in many areas of Sindh and South Punjab through hybrid technology transfer, the PHHSA has been denied representation on NSDRA. “Since the PHHSA was registered and granted licence in 2023 and Seed Amendment Ordinance 2024 published in 2024, hence the Board of Governors taken from previous National Seed Council notification of March 19, 2013 and the PHHSA name was overlooked in the board of governors. We strongly demand inclusion of PHHSA representation,” he concluded.