LAHORE: The Punjab Agriculture Committee has recommended to the Ministry of National Food Security & Research (MNFS&R) to prepare an incentive programme for farmers to enhance cotton production in Pakistan.
The incentive programme will be submitted to the Federal Cabinet for approval aimed at strengthening the dwindling cotton crop.
While the committee also recommended that the MNFS&R should complete consultation with the stakeholders on the revised Seed Regulatory Framework/Rules and forward the case to the competent authority for consideration.
This was suggested at the 3rd meeting of the Punjab Agriculture Committee held recently in the federal Capital with the Governor Punjab Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar in the chair. According to the minutes of the meeting, it was also attended by the Chairman CPEC Asim Saleem Bajwa, Federal Minister for Agriculture and National Food Security Syed Fakhar Imam, Punjab Minister for Agriculture Hussain Jehanian Gardezi and a number of senior bureaucrats and other stakeholders.
Additional Secretary MNFS&R Rashid Mahmood apprised the committee that a revised seed regulatory framework has been prepared and consultation with the stakeholders is in process. He further said that in the proposed seed regulatory framework, the area of operation is being defined and companies are to be categorized on the basis of their area of operations such as district level, division, province and national level.
In this regard, a district base licensing system will also be introduced and it would be subject to satisfactory performance in the district. The license of the seed company will be upgraded gradually to country-level operations. The major difference in the revised framework is that a company will have to submit “Performance Guarantee” and instead of imposing fine on a violation, deductions will be made from its performance guarantee along with the cancellation of the license, if required. So far as action against presently registered seed companies is concerned, 211 companies are in the process of being de-registration,” he added.
Asad Rehman Gilani, Secretary Agriculture, Government of Punjab apprised the committee about the department’s work on availability and monitoring of quality inputs (seed, fertilizer & pesticides). About the constitution of Tehsil level inspection committees to take administrative and penal actions against those involved in producing and selling substandard seeds and counterfeited pesticides, the meeting was apprised that provincial government has nominated its representatives, however, federal government is yet to identify the names of their representatives for which a reference has already been sent.
The committee also stressed the need for early resolution of “Cotton Cess” issue in consultation with the relevant stakeholders and developing a collaborative mechanism of partnerships in agriculture research and innovation by the MNFS&R and the Punjab Agriculture department.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021