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Amended Seed Act summary to be moved to cabinet soon      

ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock (Minfal) is expected to shortly move a summary to the federal cabinet on the proposed amendments in the Seed Act 1976 as the provinces have authorised the federal government to bring in certain changes in the existing law, sources told Business Recorder on Tuesday.

The Federal Seed Certification and Registration Department has finalised the changes and it has already sent a summary to the Minfal, which will send a detailed summary to the cabinet for final approval, the sources said. According to them, the Ministry of Law, Justice and Human Rights has initially vetted the proposed changes, which are aimed at ending monopoly of public sector companies in seed marketing.

However, it is feared that if the present assemblies were dissolved for holding fresh elections, the process could further delay, as the new assemblies would take up the proposed amendments. A similar case is the Plant Breeder Right Act, in which the changes have been approved by the cabinet, but these are yet to be placed before the Parliament whose approval is must for the promulgation of a new law, the sources said.

The sources said that there was a need to revolutionise the seed sector, where the credible companies in private sector could invest in introducing new seed varieties with the potential to increase productivity. The foremost thing, which is addressed by the proposed amendments, is the registration of companies at pre-basic seed stage and the company, which originates new seed would have a greater say in the marketing of their varieties.

The amendments would also facilitate establishment of the accredited seed laboratories in private sector, the sources added. They were of the view that due to the monopoly of public sector companies, the private sector does not come forward to establish such laboratories for developing new seed varieties, according to the sources.

The proposed amendments also envisage the formation of a committee, which would have the authority to register seed companies in private sector. The registration of these companies would be renewed every year after evaluation of their performances, the sources added.

The Seed Act, 1976 does not have a proper mechanism to register seed importers and the imported seed varieties. All these shortcomings have been addressed to, the sources added.

The new law will shape the future development of seed supply system in Pakistan. They will help the private sector in developing domestic seed industry and delimit the space for exercising farmers' seed rights, the sources added.

Courtesy: Business Recorder;

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