Discounted certified wheat seeds in KP

KP’s discount on certified wheat seed

By Tahir Ali

http://www.dawn.com/2011/12/05/kps-discount-on-certified-wheat-seed.html

“The discounted standard high-yielding seeds, approved by the provincial seeds council, will be supplied to farmers on first come first served basis. Growers have been advised to use these varieties to get better yields,” an official said. – File photo

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa agriculture department has announced a discount in the prices of certified and basic wheat seeds for the benefit of the farming community.
Officials say the price of certified seeds has been reduced to Rs1,780 per 50kg from Rs1,850 and that of the basic variety to Rs1,900 from Rs1,950 last year.
“The discounted standard high-yielding seeds, approved by the provincial seeds council, will be supplied to farmers on first come first served basis. Growers have been advised to use these varieties to get better yields,” an official said.
“Wheat growers should use Pirsabaq-04, Hashim-08, Suren-10, Ata Habib-10, Sahar-2006, Uqab, Zam, KT-2000, Batoor, Fakhre Sarhad and Janbaz for irrigated lands and Pir sabaq-04 and 05, Hashim 08, Barsat-10 and Tatara for rain-fed areas in the province.
“Cultivation of substandard seeds —Shafaq, Bakhar, Abdus sattar, Bakhtawar-92, KT-2003 and Watan — which have the least or no resistance against reddish malaise, should be avoided,” he said.
“These seeds will be available in the model farm services centres and the offices of district agriculture officers. Any MFSC could get any amount of seeds it wants to buy from the official stock,” the official said.
But limited membership and inadequate revolving funds for buying inputs makes it impossible for the MFSCs to help most of its members.
Ahmad Saeed, chief planning officer, ministry of agriculture, says farmers can get seeds on one phone call.
“Farmers are advised not to buy substandard or fake seeds and report to district officers, field workers of the department or the Federal Seeds Certification and Registration Department (FSC&RD) about those dealing in fake seeds so that action could be taken against them under the Seeds Act.
“Under the act, those dealing in fake or substandard seeds are arrested, tried in a court and, if found guilty, are fined and jailed with their dealership cancelled.
“Any seed which does not have FSC&RD tag with information about its contents and uses, be it basic or certified, and is not sealed, is a fake seed. The agriculture department and the FSC&RD have already cracked down against substandard seeds and confiscated a large quantity of it from the market,” he added.
“The provincial requirement of wheat seed is around 80,000 tons. The government provides around 6,000-7,000 tons through official channels; the rest is supplied by private sector, while almost 70 per cent of farmers here use their own stocks.
“The farmers grow wheat on around 0.75 million hectares. Its acreage has not increased for lack of irrigation water due to insufficient infrastructure, irregular rains and delayed cane harvesting,” says Mr Saeed.
“The department needs to replace 10 per cent of common seeds with basic or certified seeds. It has currently surpassed that benchmark.
“The department has developed over 6,200 tons of basic and certified seeds and has supported the private sector to produce over 7,000 tons of standard seeds. We have brought down seed prices for the benefit of farmers. We also provide free seeds, fertiliser and other inputs to registered progressive growers for their demonstration plots,” he said.
“The flood- and militancy-hit farmers in the province are also provided free seeds and other inputs by the provincial disaster management authority and international donors. All these measures are expected to increase wheat acreage slightly, if not by a big margin,” he hoped.
When asked why do growers go for substandard or fake seeds, Abdur Rahim Khan, a farmer leader, says cultivators do so mainly for two reasons. “Most growers, mainly the poor, don’t have cash with them. So they buy seeds on deferred payment which is not the case with certified seeds sale,” he said.
Khan opined that opening of village or union council-based farm inputs depots would solve this problem. “But then it requires huge financial allocation to the agriculture sector. Currently, the department receives less than two per cent of the provincial development programme,” he lamented.
At present, more than 500 registered national and five multinational seed companies are allowed to market seeds.
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Original text of the article
Certified wheat seeds in KP
By Tahir Ali
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa agriculture department has notified the recommended wheat seeds for this season and also announced special discount in the prices of certified and basic wheat seeds for the benefit of the farming community, officials say.
The price of certified seeds has been reduced to Rs1780 per 50kg from Rs1850 and that of the basic variety to Rs1900 from Rs1950 last year.
“The discounted standard high-yielding seeds, approved by the provincial seeds council, will be served to farmers on first come first serve basis. Farmers are requested to use these high yielding as per the directions of the department to get higher yields,” an official said.
“Wheat growers should use Pirsabaq-04, Hashim-08, Suren -10, Ata Habib-10, Sahar-2006, Uqab, Zam, KT-2000, Batoor, Fakhre Sarhad and Janbaz for the irrigated lands and Pir sabaq-04 and 05, Hashim 08, Barsat-10 and Tatara for rain-fed areas in the province,” he added.
Farmers should avoid cultivating substandard seeds -Shafaq, Bakhar, Abdus sattar, Bakhtawar-92, KT-2003 and Watan- which have the least or no resistance against the reddish malaise, he added.
The seeds will be available in the model farm services centres and the offices of district agriculture officers. “MFSCs are the best choice as here all the agriculture related departments serve the farmers under one roof. Any MFSC could get any amount of seeds it wants to buy from the official stock. I guarantee it,” said the official.
But limited membership and small revolving funds for buying inputs for the member farmers make it impossible for the MFSCs even to help most of its members, what to talk of those outside its ambit.
Ahmad Said, the chief planning officer of the KP ministry of agriculture, said they had given advertisements in the newspapers with complete guidance and phone numbers of the concerned officials, adding that farmers could get seeds with one phone call.
“We will try our best to ensure smooth availability of certified seeds to growers but for human frailties, there could be some problems. Farmers are requested to help stop the sale of substandard or fake seeds by dealers and to inform the district officers or any field worker of the department or the federal seeds certification and registration department (FSC&RD) so that necessary action could be taken against them under the seeds act,” he said.
As per the provincial seeds act, those dealing in fake or substandard seed are arrested and tried in a court of law and if found guilty, they are jailed, fined and their dealership is cancelled.
“Any seed which has no FSC&RD tag with necessary information about its contents and uses, be that basic or certified seed, and is not sealed is a fake seed and farmers should report its sale and presence to officials so that action is taken. The agriculture department and the FSC&RD has already started crackdowns and confiscated substandard seeds in the market,” he added.
The province needs about 80,000 tons of wheat seeds in all. The government usually provides around 6000-7000 seeds of it through official channels while the rest is covered by the private sector and around 70 per cent of the KP farmers usually use their own stock for the [purpose.
KP farmers grow wheat on around 0.75mn hectares. Its acreage has remained sluggish for lack of irrigation water due to insufficient infrastructure, irregular rains, usually delayed cane harvesting, wheat completion with tobacco crop and the rampant use of agriculture lands for residential and commercial projects.
Around 50 per cent of KP’s agriculture land is rain fed and prolonged drought in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as in rest of the country has left this land in the southern and central districts of the province, that account for around 55 per cent of the land under wheat cultivation, without wheat.
And the expected closure of canals for desilting purposes next month coupled with prolonged load-shedding and high generator cost make water availability more uncertain, thus diminishing wheat prospects in the province as water is critical for germination of seeds, fertiliser intake and maturity and strength of crop. This also underscores the need for developing drought resistant seeds varieties.
The department is required to replace 10 per cent of common seeds with basic or certified seeds each year. And the department has surpassed that benchmark.
“The department has, for the first time in recent history, developed over 6200 tons of basic and certified seeds itself and has also supported the private sector to produce over 7000 standard seeds in the province. We have also brought down the price of the seeds for the benefit of the farmers. And to the registered progressive growers, we provide free seeds, fertilizer and other inputs for their demonstration plots. The floods and militancy hit farmers in the province are also provided free seeds and other inputs by the provincial disaster management authority and international donors. All these measures are expected to increase wheat acreage slightly, if not by a great margin,” he hoped.
Regarding a question as to whether farmers associations have been taken on board in the distribution of seeds, he said the provincial government consulted them on all the relevant issues. “In the MFSC all the decisions and purchases are made by farmers themselves as per their needs. Even seeds are approved with the consent of the famers.”
When plenty of standard seeds are available, why do farmers go for substandard or fake seeds? I asked Abdur Rahim Khan, a farmer leader. He said farmers do so mainly for two reasons. “Most, especially the poor, farmers don’t have cash with them. So they buy seeds on deferred payment which obviously is not the case with public certified seeds sale. Then, most farmers, out of money constraint or sheer laziness, avoid going to the agriculture offices or MFSC, even if located a few miles away, to get the seeds and instead buy the substandard seeds available near their homes,” he said.
Khan opined the opening of village or union council based inputs depots would solve the problem. “But then it requires huge financial allocation to the agriculture sector which at present has to fulfil all its financial requirements within a meagre amount –less than two percent of the provincial development programme of the province,” he lamented.
At present, more than 500 national and five multinational seed companies are registered and allowed to market crop seeds. The public sector seeds production capacity, however, needs to be increased if the government does intend to replace all the seeds with certified seeds in near future.
Seeds are of three varieties -pre-basic, basic and certified. Pre-basic is the best quality seeds produced in agricultural research farms. It is then provided to the agricultural extension for cultivation in its agricultural farms which produce basic seeds. These are then provided to progressive farmers for further cultivation. The crop is regularly monitored and the seeds certified by FSC&RD is procured from them and sold to common farmers in the province.

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About Tahir Ali Khan
I am an academic, freelance columnist, writer and a social worker.

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