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Council approves 12 new seed varieties

Council approves 12 new seed varieties

PESHAWAR: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Minister for Agriculture Ikramullah Gandapur said on Tuesday that the provincial seed council had approved 12 new varieties in its 35th meeting.

Addressing a press conference here at the Civil Secretariat, Mr Gandapur said that the government institutes from across the province presented at least 16 seeds and private companies four new varieties of hybrid seeds for the council’s approval. He said that the council approved 12 of the 16 seed varieties, including that of maize, wheat, gram, cotton, sugar cane, ‘moong dal’ and orange.

He said that decision on the four hybrid seeds from private sector was withheld for 15 days as the department would go through the relevant regulations related to private companies and then come up with a decision.

The minister said that the provincial government was encouraging the private sector as well and that was why such companies were allowed for the first time to present their seeds before the council. He said that the agriculture department was working on introducing new varieties of fruit, vegetables and other crops.

Mr Gandapur said that KP’s requirement of wheat seeds stood at 90,000 tonnes a year and it produced only 4 to 5 per cent of it, while the rest was bought from Punjab and private companies. He said that encouragement of private companies would help the government to meet this requirement from the province’s own sources.

He said that new breeds of seeds would help the province meet its wheat production deficit. He said that KP’s wheat production stood at 1.1 million tonnes a year, while it needed about 3.3 million to 3.5 million annually.

Mr Gandapur said that the KP government was also working on introduction of solar tube wells, cluster farming and free provision of wheat seed worth Rs3 billion to about 326,000 farmers across the province. He said that this would likely increase the province’s wheat production by over 300,000 tonnes.

The KP government would buy about 50 per cent of the seeds produced by the farmers at government rate. He said that the provincial government had also introduced cluster farming programme worth Rs453 million.

The minister said that they had allocated Rs500 million for solar tube wells to irrigate barren lands in the province. He said that they had issued the tenders and would distribute tube wells among the farmers so that they could be able to cultivate barren lands.

He said that the government was introducing high roof tunnel for production of vegetables during winter, and at the same time it was also planned to increase fruit and vegetable production.

Qayash Bahadur, director general agriculture (extension), said that high yield of crops was dependent on use of certified variety of seed and understanding of climatic conditions. He said that the use of high yield seeds could increase the production by around 30 per cent.

Published in Dawn, September 9th, 2015

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