Seed approval delays, low investment hinder agri growth in Pakistan

Pakistan's agribusiness sector is vital to economy, but it faces a multitude of challenges at various nodes of the agriculture value chain hindering its growth and potential, said an expert at the National Agricultural Research Centre (NARC), reports WealthPK.

The expert, who pleaded anonymity because he is not authorised to speak, said that from delays in seed approval to limited private sector investment and inefficient market practices, these issues hinder this vital sector's growth and it is crucial to address them to unlock the full potential of the sector.

“Unnecessary delays in approving new seed varieties by the Federal Seed Certification and Registration Department (FSCRD) hinder innovation. This process should be expedited, encouraging the introduction of improved varieties and enhancing agricultural productivity.”

“The private sector’s limited involvement in the seed market affects innovation and accessibility. Encouraging increased private sector investment can drive research and development, leading to the availability of quality seeds and improved agricultural practices,” he said.
The expert said, “There is a need to maximise productivity through hybrid crops. For example, the introduction of hybrid maise has demonstrated significant yields. Expanding the use of hybrid seeds and promoting other high-yielding crop varieties can enhance productivity and meet growing demands.”

He further said, “A significant proportion of agricultural output remains unprocessed, limiting export potential. Investing in improved processing techniques for milk, fruits, vegetables, and meat can increase product value, boost exports, and generate greater economic returns.”

“Investments in plant and animal breeding techniques are crucial for agricultural progress. Prioritising targeted research and development efforts can lead to improved crop varieties, higher yields, and enhanced livestock breeds,” said the NARC official.

“Promoting branding and labelling in the input-output markets can add to the reputation of Pakistani agricultural products. This can create opportunities for increased exports, as high-quality products gain recognition in the international markets.”

“Making credit available at low-interest rates for establishment of processing units can encourage investment and facilitate the growth of agriculture-based exports. Accessible financing mechanisms can enable farmers and agribusinesses to adopt modern processing techniques and improve product value.”

“With targeted efforts and supportive policies, Pakistan can build a robust and prosperous agriculture sector that contributes significantly to the country's economic development,” he added.

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