Sindh facing paddy seed shortage
Mohammad Hussain Khan
FEARS are being expressed that availability of quality paddy
seed will be a problem for rice producers in the upper Sindh
region in the coming kharif season. During last year’s
devastating floods rice growers not only lost their paddy
crop but also the quality local seed which they had stored
for the next season.
The availability of certified seed for different crops, even
otherwise, has always remained a problem in the province.
The seven districts on the Indus River’s right bank in Sindh
region are known for their paddy crops. Around 2.2 million
acres are brought under paddy cultivation in the province
that yields about 3.6 million tons paddy.
Paddy producer Gada Hussain in upper Sindh says the province
needs 1.8 million maunds of paddy seed of which 600,000
maunds will be available with the lower Sindh which remained
unaffected by floods. The rich paddy producers would be able
to arrange 300,000 maunds of seed. Out of the remaining
900,000 maunds, the Sindh government is trying to arrange
100,000 maunds. “So we will be in a problem for 7-8 hundred
thousand maunds of quality paddy seed,” he says.
Sindh-based growers prefer to procure seed from the Punjab
Seed Corporation as they say the Sindh Seed Corporation (SSC)
is unable to come up to their standard whether it is paddy
seed or of any other crop. They don’t rule out seed shortage
for this year’s crop. The upper Sindh growers produce coarse
variety that is also exported. In lower Sindh growers prefer
hybrid seed as their area’s weather conditions (with a
temperature ranging between 35 and 38 degree centigrade) are
favourable for it. In upper Sindh growers generally avoid
this variety on account of climatic conditions. The normal
temperature in their area during the summer varies between
45 and 48 degrees centigrade.
On the other hand, the SSC is trying to procure as much seed
as possible. According to SSC managing director Shafiq
Mahessar, 150,000 maunds of seed has been purchased for
Rs150 million. According to him, the public sector seed
companies provide 20 per cent of the total requirement.
“While there will be some problem, but I don’t think there
will be dearth of seed,” he says.
Qazi Shafiq Mahessar from Dadu says we will get seed from
Punjab. He is also worried about water shortages in
non-perennial Rice Canal that emanates from Sukkur barrage.
“A strip of the canal between RD-5 and RD-37 is heavily
silted and irrigation officials must dredge out the silt to
clear the canal,” he says.
Repair work of the main Tori bund is important for paddy
sowing. According to Sindh Abadgar Board president Abdul
Majeed Nizamani, if the breach is completely plugged, the
traditional paddy growing area would be brought under rice
cultivation otherwise sowing would only be possible on
300,000-400,000 acres in that area. He does not feel that
seed availability would be a major problem. The Food and
Agriculture Organisation (FAO) is making efforts to provide
seed, he says.
Courtesy: The DAWN