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Sindh facing paddy seed shortage              
Mohammad Hussain Khan

FEARS are being expressed that availability of quality paddy seed will be a problem for rice producers in the upper Sindh region in the coming kharif season. During last year’s devastating floods rice growers not only lost their paddy crop but also the quality local seed which they had stored for the next season.

The availability of certified seed for different crops, even otherwise, has always remained a problem in the province.

The seven districts on the Indus River’s right bank in Sindh region are known for their paddy crops. Around 2.2 million acres are brought under paddy cultivation in the province that yields about 3.6 million tons paddy.
 

 


Paddy producer Gada Hussain in upper Sindh says the province needs 1.8 million maunds of paddy seed of which 600,000 maunds will be available with the lower Sindh which remained unaffected by floods. The rich paddy producers would be able to arrange 300,000 maunds of seed. Out of the remaining 900,000 maunds, the Sindh government is trying to arrange 100,000 maunds. “So we will be in a problem for 7-8 hundred thousand maunds of quality paddy seed,” he says.

Sindh-based growers prefer to procure seed from the Punjab Seed Corporation as they say the Sindh Seed Corporation (SSC) is unable to come up to their standard whether it is paddy seed or of any other crop. They don’t rule out seed shortage for this year’s crop. The upper Sindh growers produce coarse variety that is also exported. In lower Sindh growers prefer hybrid seed as their area’s weather conditions (with a temperature ranging between 35 and 38 degree centigrade) are favourable for it. In upper Sindh growers generally avoid this variety on account of climatic conditions. The normal temperature in their area during the summer varies between 45 and 48 degrees centigrade.

 

On the other hand, the SSC is trying to procure as much seed as possible. According to SSC managing director Shafiq Mahessar, 150,000 maunds of seed has been purchased for Rs150 million. According to him, the public sector seed companies provide 20 per cent of the total requirement. “While there will be some problem, but I don’t think there will be dearth of seed,” he says.

Qazi Shafiq Mahessar from Dadu says we will get seed from Punjab. He is also worried about water shortages in non-perennial Rice Canal that emanates from Sukkur barrage. “A strip of the canal between RD-5 and RD-37 is heavily silted and irrigation officials must dredge out the silt to clear the canal,” he says.

Repair work of the main Tori bund is important for paddy sowing. According to Sindh Abadgar Board president Abdul Majeed Nizamani, if the breach is completely plugged, the traditional paddy growing area would be brought under rice cultivation otherwise sowing would only be possible on 300,000-400,000 acres in that area. He does not feel that seed availability would be a major problem. The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) is making efforts to provide seed, he says.



Courtesy: The DAWN

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