Pakistan Oilseed Development Board (PODB) is planning to focus on to bring maximum land under cultivation of sunflower and canola which has registered a drastic reduction of 34 percent and 80 percent respectively in the year 2011-12 as compared to 2010-11.
Sunflower sowing came down to 800,000 acres in year 2011-12 against 1,200,000 acres in 2010-11 while area under canola sowing from 250,000 in year 2010-11 to only 50,000 in year 2011-12. Sources in the PODB told Business Recorder here on Monday it was a regular feature in the Board to hold a meeting of the stakeholders including Seed Companies Association of Pakistan (SCAP) and All Pakistan Solvent Extractors’ Association (APSEA) before commencing of every sowing season to plan seed availability and fixing suitable prices to convince growers to cultivate oilseed crops on maximum available land and contribute towards reducing the edible oil import bill of the country.
With the help of SCAP and PODB, Board used to ensure that sowing seed was available in good quality/quantity and at a reasonable price to the growers throughout the country. Furthermore, PODB also made sure that oilseed growers could get an attractive price of their produce. For this purpose APSEA was requested to announce procurement price for sunflower and canola produce before start of each sowing season, the sources added.
However, with the winding up of the Board in June 2011 this custom came to a halt. PODB Managing Director, Syed Nasir Ali Shah after revival of the Board, the sources stated, had recently urged the Ministry of National Food Security to arrange a meeting with the SCAP and APSEA at the earliest to discuss the seed availability and support price for the growers. Though canola sowing season is already over in the country but sunflower sowing season will start in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab from January and still there is a time to make efforts to increase cultivation of oilseed crops on maximum available land.