Corn hybrid seeds: Pakistan set to become self-sustaining

In what would be a major boost to the food security of the country, Pakistan is poised to become self-sufficient in the production of corn hybrid seeds.
Local seed companies have exceeded foreign competitors in research and development, producing highest-yielding corn varieties, claimed a Pakistan official.
Local scientists of national companies associated with the Seed Association of Pakistan (SAP) have emerged victorious by topping the National Uniform Yield Trials (NUYT) conducted by National Agriculture Research Council (NARC) for the last two years, claimed SAP member Shafiqur Rehman.
Briefing members of Agriculture Journalists Association (AJA) at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Shafiq said that these trials were orchestrated in an unbiased manner on 10 different sites. Some of these multinational seed companies are world leaders in maize seed research and development. The results were proclaimed this month. Giving details, he said three corn hybrids namely SB-9663, SB-9617 & SB-9618 of a national seed company, Kisan Seed Corporation, acquire the top three positions in a competition of yellow maize hybrids in spring 2017. The highest production recorded by these locally produced seeds was as high as 10.3 tons per hectare,Similarly, he maintained, another hybrid seed variety namely CS-240 from a national petal seed company of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) produced the top yield and got the first position in the competition of yellow and white maize hybrids in spring 2016, producing average production of 9.9 tons per hectare.
The SAP spokesman said that these auspicious results show that locally competitive genetic material (germ plasm) is tolerably available in the country to produce high-quality hybrid corn seeds for the spring season. Presently, we are importing these hybrid corn seeds from various countries, spending billions of rupees, he added.
“Out of about 200 members, many SAP companies are conducting basic seed research for developing genetic material,” he said.“We have been blessed with huge genetic material for breeding of hybrid seeds in addition to running processing units and a network of state of the art seed testing labs.”