FAO distributes seeds among farmers in tribal districts

ISLAMABAD: Food and Agriculture Organization representative Mina Dowlatchahi has termed the partnership with Pakistan’s Federal Seed Certification and Registration Department part of strategic efforts to reinforce the capacity of certification and testing seed in laboratories in Pakistan.

She said that there is a need to improve the capacity in Pakistan to produce its own certified seeds preferably through the engagement of smallholder farmers. The training, she said, would help us all move in that direction.

Recently, training on Seed Sampling and Seed Testing to meet ISTA Accreditation was organized at the Federal Seed Certification and Registration Department Islamabad. The training covered areas of seed sampling, purity analysis and moisture testing in line with International Seed Testing Association (ISTA) procedures/guidelines.

A statement issued on Saturday said that FAO is implementing a Technical Cooperation Program Facility (TCPF) on ‘Improved Capacity in Use of Plant Genetic Resources for Varietal Development and Integration in the Seed System”.

This technical cooperation aims to facilitate Government institutions in the professional handling of plant genetic resources, crop variety development and seed system regulations in line with international best practices.

Federal Seed Certification and Registration Department (FSC&RD) is a key partner in this endeavour and approached FAO to facilitate the training programme. The three-day training concluded with certificates distributed among the participants.

The statement said that seed is one of the most crucial elements in the livelihoods of agricultural communities. It is the repository of the genetic potential of crop species and their varieties resulting from the continuous improvement and selection over time.

In many countries including Pakistan, there is a need for enabling farmers to fully benefit from the advantages of using quality seed. Inefficient seed production, distribution and quality assurance systems, as well as bottlenecks caused by a lack of effective seed policy,  get in the way of improving food security of small farmers and their families.

It is therefore important to have a sustainable seed system in place which would ensure that high-quality seeds of a wide range of varieties and crops are produced and fully available in time and affordable to farmers and other stakeholders.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is working in Pakistan in a range of areas related to capacity building to enhance seed systems and to facilitate farmers’ access to good quality seed of locally-adapted varieties.