Difficult access to certified seeds
By Mohammad Hussain Khan
KHARIF season has started in lower Sindh and cotton sowing
is under way in the left bank areas wherever wheat has been
harvested. Upper Sindh growers on the right bank of Indus,
who mostly grow rice, would begin the sowing of the crop by
The rice growers, who suffered losses due to floods and
monsoon rains in the last season, might face seed shortage
though government functionaries say that they have ensured
The expected sowing targets for cotton and rice this year
are around 650,000 and 642,000 hectares respectively. Sindh
last year had produced 4.2 million bales of cotton with an
average production of 1,400kg lint cotton per hectare.
Growers have been sowing BT cotton for the last several
years in view of its potential for better yield.
Kharif season for the right bank areas of upper Sindh
normally begins in May if there is no water shortage. This
region is famous for rice production and growers wait for
water availability for sowing the crop. Sindh normally
produces 2.4 million tons of coarse variety of rice.
The majority of small growers sow mixed seeds of cash crops
like cotton, wheat and paddy. While they have started paying
attention to using high-yield certified seeds, they do not
have easy access to them.
The Sindh Seed Corporation and other private companies meet
only 20 per cent of the total seed requirement of the
province. The rest 80 per cent comes from farmers` own
stock. Growers don`t get better crop returns as the seeds
they are using are of multiple varieties with different per
acre potential. Some of the varieties are early maturing
while the others are mid or late maturing.
Progressive farmers prefer certified seed. It is generally
small growers who get seeds from different dealers, multiply
them in their land and then preserving them to be used in
the next season.
Certified seed is purified and has the ability to nourish
the crop. According to progressive farmers, it raises output
by around 20 maunds per acre. Farmers like Nadeem Shah says:
“They can arrange their own seed by sowing it on a piece of
two acres and then use it in the next season but they
usually avoid it.” He further adds, farmers can easily
multiply their own quality seed. “I myself got 60 maunds per
acre of paddy against production of an ordinary farmer who
gets 25 maunds on an average,” he says.
The Sindh government has a programme to supply quality seeds
to growers and provide them pre-basic and basic seeds.
Farmers with 200 to 250 acres will have to first get
themselves registered with the Sindh Agriculture Research
Department. After verification, they will be provided basic
seed for multiplication.
The department is providing SKD1 (Sakrand-I) and TD1 of
wheat seeds to growers which, according to Director General
Research Hidayatullah Chajro, yields 75-80 maunds per acre.
He says farmers generally use mixture of seeds but now they
are getting aware of the importance of quality seeds to get
better return. “We give seed to private companies as well,”
he says. He links this year`s bumper wheat crop to quality
seed provided by the department. He attaches great
importance to a check on sale of uncertified seed to farmers
by the Federal Seed Certification and Registration
President of Sindh Chamber of Agriculture, Mirpurkhas, Mir
Zafarullah Talpur says small farmers are basically dependent
on dealers to get seeds on credit. So they mostly use seed
provided by them. “They are unable to pay so much attention
to quality seed,” he says.
Impure seed becomes susceptible to different pest attacks,
as growers are not aware of the variety of seeds they have
sown and fail to control the pest menace. That`s why Zain
Shah, a Nawabshah-based grower and Sindh Abadgar Board
official, refers to BT cotton seed which, he says, has not
been subjected to research.
“Climatic conditions of lower Sindh are supportive of BT
cotton but not the rest of Sindh and therefore it is
necessary that a research should be carried out on it,”
The FSCRD has shortage of seed inspectors and logistics
which hamper its functions of checking sale of uncertified
seed. Regional Director of FSCRD Tariq claims that 37,000
maund of quality seed was available for cotton grown on 2.5
million acres. Last year 742,000 maunds of seed for
different varieties of wheat like TD1, SKDI and Imdad were
provided to farmers. “Farmers are now realising that sowing
of certified seed is necessary ,” he says.
The Sindh Seed Corporation (SSC) manages its farms spread
over 8,500 acres and provides pure seed. It is also working
on creating its own Foundation Seed Cell to get pre-basic
and basic seeds for farmers. It mostly provides irri-6 and
KSK282 of paddy, cris variety of cotton and TD1 and TJ83,
Kiran varieties of wheat seed to farmers.
Sindh Seed Corporation Managing Director Shafiq Mahesar
regrets that agriculture research wing is not coming up with
new varieties and farmers are generally interested in their
preserved seeds although they could get more production from
seed provided by the SSC.
Courtesy: The DAWN