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Seed corporation’s sale on donors’ agenda




  • After the provincial food departments, the Punjab Seed Corporation is the next target of the world donor agencies insisting on the introduction of open market forces in the agriculture sector of the country, it is learnt.
    Various multinational companies operating in the seed business are exerting their pressure on the government through the donor agencies for the privatization of the PSC, the Asia’s largest seed supplying company. Sources say that the step will be taken in the name of projecting the local private sector in the trade though the local firms have no required scientific system and experience for seed research, multiplication, processing, storage and quality control.
    There are over 500 registered private concerns active in the field. They fear that after the disbandment of the public sector institution, the local farmers will be left at the mercy of the multinationals which are already fleecing them in the sale of pesticides and seed.
    This step coupled with deregulation of the irrigation sector will leave no room for the farming community to face the challenge of the WTO regime, they add. The PSC, established in 1976, is the only public sector institution which is providing certified seeds to farmers of all the four provinces without getting any financial aid from the government.
    It is also earning foreign exchange through the export of seeds by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN, and is also meeting the seed requirements of the World Food Programme. Sources in the corporation say that the PSC is also supplying quality seeds to Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Iran and Afghanistan.
    They say India had tried to capture the Asian market through cheap supplies but failed as its seeds could not give the projected yield in Bangladesh,and afghanistan. The private concerns are marketing cotton seed of various quality at rates ranging from 5000 to 8000 per bag in the local market, while the PSC is supplying international standard seed at 4,000 per bag.
    Kissan Board President Sadiq Khakwani has at a forum stressed the need for strengthening the PSC instead of privatizing it in the larger interest of the farming community. He says the presence of the corporation is necessary to save the farmers from fleecing by the multinationals and hoarding by the local private firms.

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