KARACHI: The import of most of the vegetable seeds from Europe, USA, Japan, Korea, New Zealand and India has registered around 10 percent decline to Rs 252 million in January to August 2016. Imports stood at around Rs 278 million during same period last year 2015.
The representatives of All Pakistan Vegetable Seed Merchant Trade Association (APVSMTA) said decline in import duty on some of the seeds and on better grade yielding domestically of hybrid level, import of all type of vegetable seeds remained low.
The importers have called for rationalising duty on import of okra seeds in order to bring high cost of vegetable in local market, said Zeeshan Aghai of Awaz Enterprise.
Our farmers and growers are now becoming aware of hybrid sowing and germination facilities and better yield due to improving expertise besides sufficient use of land is also an edge in this regard, Aghai said.
The decline in imports of seeds is result of use of local manufactured seeds and the consumption of vegetables mainly in lower and lower middle class segment has gone up to around 40 percent in all four provinces.
On double digit inflation and high meat prices and rising utility bills cost etc the growers preferred to sow domestic seeds that has also increased the number of vegetable consumers, he added.
The market prices of vegetables have also registered an increase of 10 percent to 15 percent, he added.
More than 42 percent of the imports of pea seeds are made from USA and 15 percent from India. Some 5 percent import of pea seed is also made from New Zealand. Around 45 percent seeds are germinated in the country, mostly in Toba Tek Singh in Punjab, which is upto the universal standards.
“If Ministry of Commerce reconsider to rationalise 15 percent duty on okra seeds import, the domestic prices of the vegetable would come down to almost two third, he added.
More than 40 percent import of radish seeds are made from Japan and Korea, seeds of white turnip with purple top from Denmark, cauliflower and tomato seeds from Holland and France, salad pata and cucumber seeds from Denmark and Simla green chilly seeds from Denmark and other countries.
Imports are also made from China but they import are not in plenty due to standard of seeds.
Some imported seeds also germinated and hybrid at local level in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and parts of Sindh especially in winter for fruiting. This is known as greenhouse or glasshouse effect process for sowing the sapling.
Ahsan Ahmad, a wholesale dealer in Empress Market said domestic seeds cater around 55 percent of vegetable needs while imports cater around 35 food needs of the country.
He said our agriculture research centres were working to produce better grade of seeds besides they were well equipped with latest technology and have trained professionals that could produce F-1 vegetable seeds in country.
Source: Daily Times