A vibrant seed industry is central to harnessing the growth potential of agriculture. Pakistan’s seed industry is in disarray, where no significant investment is being made by the private sector in research and development for the field crops due to Pakistan’s poor IPR regime. PAC evaluated the options for addressing this problem and concluded that, if the true potential is to be tapped, the leading conglomerates will have to invest in the seed sector. In order to understand the implications, PAC led the development of a pre-feasibility through international expertise.
Subsequently, PAC designed a program to establish Pakistan’s first world-class cotton seed company to provide cotton farmers with high-germination, high-yielding, highly pure and highly pest/insect resistant cotton seed. The initiative is being backed by three of Pakistan’s leading textile groups i.e. Sapphire, Fatima and Nishat Group which purchase 20-25% of Pakistan’s cotton lint. Dr. Don Keim and Dr. Albert Santos, who are U.S based cotton breeders and are known to be among the best cotton breeders in the world, have been engaged to steer the breeding component of the program. Dr. Neil Forrester, who is one of the world’s leading entomologists and an international business strategist based in Australia advised on its business development aspects. SANIFA’s breeding trials have already shown double the seed germinationlevels currently prevailing in Pakistan. During the 2018 season, SANIFA planted cotton at 9 different locations and achieved significantly higher yields than the current national average. They had also managed the decrease the trash content from 8-9 percent to 3 percent. SANIFA is ready to commence its commercial operations starting 2019 season.