Modern technology urged for seed development, farming
Islamabad: To strengthen national food security, Pakistan will have to adopt modern agricultural technologies, especially in terms of seed development and farming, said agriculture experts while addressing a seminar on ‘Developing Seed in Pakistan: Challenges and Opportunities’ at the Pakistan Agriculture Research Council (PARC) here on Monday.
Experts stressed upon enhancing knowledge sharing initiatives to improve strategies and future opportunities for seed development in general and the potato crop in particular.The National Agriculture Research Council (NARC) organised the seminar in collaboration with the Embassy of the Netherlands. Renowned agriculture expert Romke Wustman was the keynote speaker at the seminar which was attended by a large number of agriculture scientists, government officials, researchers and prominent private sector representatives.
Romke Wustman discussed seed concepts, viability, multiplication, certification and storage and shared some vital information with the audience in this regard. Narrating the success story of agriculture in Netherlands, Romke said, “We have over 400 varieties of potato seed registered and we produce one million tons of seed potatoes of which 70 percent are exported to over 80 countries. Pakistan has been growing Dutch varieties for fifty or sixty years now.”
Earlier, NARC Director General Muhammad Azeem Khan welcomed the Embassy’s initiative and appreciated the Government of Netherlands for sharing their expertise with Pakistan. Potato is an increasingly important crop and any support and expertise on the seed is valuable for us, he said, while adding that our productivity and cost of production can both be improved in all crops and we appreciate knowledge sharing in these areas and this seminar will highlight strategies and future opportunities for seed in general and the potato crop in particular.
Ms. Renate Pors, deputy head of Mission at Netherlands Embassy, expressed the commitment of Netherlands government on food security. She mentioned that every five seconds a young child dies of malnutrition and every night one billion people go to bed hungry around the globe. In the Netherlands we have a long history of successful agricultural production and exporting seed and agricultural technology and solutions and increasing production, providing packaging, storage and transport solutions and innovations are our expertise, she added.
Khalid Qureshi, senior director at the Department of Horticulture Research, also addressed the gathering and said that potato has been becoming increasingly important for consumers and farmers – but disease, quality and price of seed and technical, managerial and economical problems persist. Post harvest handling also creates problems. While appreciating the initiative taken by government of Netherlands, Qureshi said that guidance from international level can make a definite difference and such activities will generate some positive enhancements in research and development work being done in Pakistan.