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LAHORE: The issue of preparation and research of new and quality cotton seeds was discussed at a three-hour meeting jointly chaired by Governor Punjab Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar and Chief Minister Punjab Sardar Usman Bazdar, here at Governor's House on Thursday.

It was decided in the meeting to make legislation to award severe punishment to those involved in substandard seeds. It has also been decided to seek help of researchers from the USA and China for research of new seeds. Governor Punjab and Chief Minister will oversee the matters.

The meeting was also attended by Federal Minister for Food Fakhr Imam, Provincial Ministers, Chief Secretary Punjab and representatives of the private sector.

Officials of federal and provincial governments including Gohar Ijaz of APTMA also participated and gave a detailed briefing to the participants of the meeting on issues and measures regarding cotton production in Punjab. During the meeting, it was decided that a 10-member committee headed by Provincial Minister Hasnain Jahanian Gardezi would be formed to work on seed preparation and research and this committee would meet every week while the members of the committee will meet Governor and Chief Minister every 15 days to adopt future strategy. It was also decided in the meeting that the government will take the private sector on board in this matter.

A separate coordination committee of the federal government and the concerned provincial officers of Punjab were also set up. Briefing the media after the meeting, Governor Punjab Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar said that the agricultural universities of the province have been assigned the target to expedite research on the new seed and a report would be taken from them every month regarding steps taken in this regard. "I am happy that Gohar Ijaz of APTMA has announced funding for new seed research," he said, adding: "Whatever funds Gohar Ijaz will provide, we will use it only for research and not a single penny of it will be spent on any other purpose. Federal and Punjab governments are also providing funds for this purpose."

Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar said that Punjab will also legislate for strict action against substandard seed makers for which homework has been started immediately. The provincial government and the private sector are also on the same page and the government will use all its resources for the development of the agricultural sector, he said.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020