The Variety Evaluation Committee of Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) on Monday approved 29 hybrid oil seed varieties for commercial cultivation, which would help to enhance the local output of edible oil production, besides reducing the reliance on imported commodity.

The Committee which met here with Chairman PARC Dr Ghulam Muhammad Ali in the chair selected proposals for more than 30 candidate varieties/hybrids of different oil seeds including canola, mustard and sunflower for evaluation

During the meeting, 29 hybrids/varieties of local and imported origin were proposed for commercial cultivation according to their potential ecology. Out of these, 04 hybrids/varieties were of rapeseed/canola, 17 mustard varieties and 08 hybrids of sunflower.

Senior Technical Representative of Ministry of National Food Security and Research, heads of provincial seed council, provincial heads of agriculture and allied research, Director General NARC and representatives of private seed sector participated the meeting.

Addressing the meeting, Chairman PARC Dr Ghulam Muhammad Ali said that the Council under the special directives of Prime Minister, had expedited work on alternative oil crops to tackle with domestic requirements as well as for exporting.

He said that due to these efforts, it was expected that local output of oil seeds would increase significantly, adding that it would reduce the pressure from foreign exchange reserves, where as the farm income would increase.

He also highlighted the importance of Evaluation Committee and said that this forum was mandated to ensure high production and availability of different types of hybrids.

Dr Ali also appreciated the efforts of PARC and National Agriculture Research System to introduce new types and hybrids of seeds in the country and said that local production of seeds of various species including oil seeds would help the government to import batches on an annual basis.

He urged the concerned experts and scientists to focus on local production of seeds, especially oil seeds and production of hybrids and encouraged the public-private partnership to develop the seed sector in Pakistan.