Speakers have called for tangible steps to pave the way for production of indigenous on-farm vegetable seeds as the country is spending a huge foreign exchange of 6 billion rupees annually on imported vegetable seeds. They were addressing at one-day seminar titled “Dissemination of Seed Production Technology of Vegetable Crops” arranged by Vegetable Seed Lab, Institute of Horticulture Sciences University of Agriculture Faisalabad at New Senate Hall.
The session was chaired by the Vice Chancellor University of Agriculture Faisalabad Professor Dr Iqrar Ahmad Khan (SI) whereas Director Institute of Horticulture Dr Muhammad Amjad Aulakh and others also spoke on the occasion. Professor Dr Iqrar Ahmad Khan said that the country was producing plenty of surplus food grains, fruits and vegetables but around 35 percent women and children are malnourished due to bad eating habits and food preference.
He expressed his concerns on various environmental hazards of producing vegetables by sewage and untreated industrial water and said that using such vegetables may cause health problems to the consumers. He said that due to lack of awareness, affordability issue and other factors, farmers were left with no option to grow vegetables with impure local vegetables seeds that resulted in huge economic loss to them.
He said that vegetables were an essential element of a quality life that would enrich the human body with iron, minerals and vitamins. He said that despite growing vegetables at rural areas, 67 percent rural population used to purchase vegetables from urban markets.
He added that the country was endowed with a diverse and fertile agro climatic zones that enables the farmers to sow vegetables on early, timely and later stage that enables the consumers to use the vegetables for longer time period. He urged the farmers to produce their on-farm vegetable seeds that would save a huge amount of using imported seeds adding that if they organize themselves as small seed cooperatives that would enable them to flourish the business.
He was of the view that during the half decade, the campus has been transformed as a university of resonance which equips the students as well as the farmers with relevant entrepreneurial skills. Earlier, Director Institute of Horticultural Sciences Professor Dr Muhammad Amjad Aulakh shed light on various aspects of the project and said that his team is working in Faisalabad and Depalpur Districts and so far distributed thousands of packets of vegetable seeds among the farmers. He said that besides distributing vegetables seeds, they are providing the farmers training how to produce their own seeds. He said that until partition of subcontinent, Quetta remained a hub of vegetable seeds but if we provide them training of producing quality on-farm seeds, they would catch the old glory. Progressive farmers Mr Mehmood, Mr Watoo also spoke on the occasion.