Seed mafia a formidable threat to agriculture: Malik

LAHORE   -   The seed mafia selling substandard wheat and cotton seeds has emerged as a formidable threat to the agricultural sector particularly in areas reliant on this staple crops. Pakistan Hitech Hybrid Seed Association (PHHSA) Chairman Shahzad Ali Malik stated this while talking to a farmers’ delegation led by Muhammad Hussain Dohla here Sunday. Malik added, “These nefarious actors exploit the vulnerability of farmers by peddling inferior quality seeds masquerading as genuine agricultural inputs. With deceptive tactics, they undermine the integrity of the agricultural supply chain, wreaking havoc on crop yields and causing substantial financial losses estimated in billions of rupees.” He was of the view that in order to combat this menace and revitalise the agricultural sector, concerted efforts are imperative to stamp out the seed mafia and promote the adoption of high-quality, certified seeds for all crops. Strengthening regulatory frameworks, enhancing seed certification processes, and enforcing stringent penalties for fraudulent practices are crucial steps in safeguarding farmers’ interests and bolstering agricultural production, he suggested. By prioritising the use of certified and approved seeds, he said, the policymakers and stakeholders could empower farmers with the tools necessary to increase productivity, enhance resilience to environmental challenges, and foster sustainable agricultural growth. Shahzad Ali Malik said detrimental impact of the seed mafia extends beyond economic losses, as it undermines food security and agricultural sustainability. Poor-quality seeds not only compromise crop yields but also jeopardise the genetic diversity and resilience of agricultural ecosystems. Inadequate yields perpetuate food insecurity, exacerbating poverty and hindering rural development efforts. Concurrently, cotton ginners capitalise on the demand for cotton seed by selling substandard varieties, often mislabeling lowgrade Benola as premium seed. This dual assault on the agricultural sector exacerbates the challenges faced by farmers, leading to diminished yields per acre and perpetuating the cycle of poverty among rural communities, he concluded.

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