An international report commissioned by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and The Netherlands government placed Pakistan-based seed company, Punjab Seed, Enterprise among the 24 leading seed companies in South and Southeast Asia. Only three companies were found to provide farmer training in Pakistan to help farmers to adopt new technologies and to adapt their agricultural practices to new realities, caused by climate change.
Out of the 24 leading seed companies in Asia, 21 have a presence in India and Pakistan, but only two companies have a breeding station and production activities in Pakistan, revealed a recent report.
Only three companies were found to provide farmer training in Pakistan to help farmers to adopt new technologies and to adapt their agricultural practices to new realities, caused by climate change.
Due to less interest of international companies in local seed business activities in Pakistan, the national seed sector does not benefit from these kinds of investment, in contrast to other countries like India, Thailand or the Philippines, the report said.
Ido Verhagen, the executive director of the Access to Seeds Index, believes access to latest and modern seed varieties for local farmers resulted in better crop yield as compared to traditional seed varieties that farmers save and exchange among themselves and also helped reduce malnutrition.
“Increasing yields, tackling climate change challenges and reducing environmental impact of agriculture, it all starts with the seed farmers use,” said Verhagen. He said that it was encouraging to see that so many companies had a presence in Pakistan to sell seeds. However, it is surprising that so few companies of them invest in local seed business activities such as breeding and production or local training activities, he noted.
Verhagen further said that the study also identified 5 other Pakistani seed companies, but they did not meet the selection. One of them, Four Brothers Group, has its own breeding programme, while 3 have seed production activities. He said that Pakistan should investigate why majority of companies refrain from investing in Pakistan, however; he feared that being not a member of international bodies might be a reason. Pakistan is not a member of the international plant variety protection treaty (UPOV).