The News International, 18 April 2021 | Source

LAHORE: Pakistan is about to cancel registration of 204 seed companies including multinationals for noncompliance with the local laws, it was learnt on Saturday.

In compliance of section 22 (B) (8) of Seed Amendment Act, 2015 and Rule (5) of seed (Business Regulation) Rules, 2016, a total of 204 seed companies have been identified for cancellation of registration, according to a notification issued by the Federal Seed Certification and Registration Department (FSC&RD).

The under-question companies include multinationals like Pioneer, Syngenta, and Monsanto while most of them are located in the province of Punjab. This is the second such move in recent months in which registration of seed companies have been cancelled on various counts. Earlier in January, the federal government cancelled licenses of more than 200 seed companies for noncomplying with the laws under a revised regulatory framework to restrict suppliers’ operation in certain geographies to curb supply of substandard seeds.

A member of Seed Association of Pakistan said most of these companies were not working nowadays. He expressed the hope that about a dozen companies would succeed in establishing their status in further scrutiny with presenting more related documents. A couple of multinational companies were of the view that they are now working in the market with different identity. Cancellation of their predecessor have been identified as non-functional.

The listed company names are of obsolete legal entities that are now defunct. We are currently registered as Bayer Pakistan Pvt Ltd instead of Monsanto Pakistan with FSC&RD and market products under that legal entity, an official of multination company said.

Another official of multinational company said FSC&RD is closing the old legal entity. The current legal entities are fully functional. Same is the case with other two multinationals.

The government has prepared the revised seed regulatory framework and consultation with the stakeholders is underway. “The area of operation of each seed company is being defined in the proposed seed regulatory framework and companies are to be categorized on the basis of their certain area such as district level, division level, province level and national level,” an official of food security ministry said in a recent moot.

A district-base licencing system will be introduced and that too will be subject to satisfactory performance in the defined geography. The license of the seed company will be upgraded gradually to country-level operations. At least 211 companies are said to be in the process of being de-registered, sources told this scribe. Unlike previous framework wherein seed companies are to be scrutinised on the basis of their research and development work, market share and other parameters, now the government came up with the idea of restricting scope of work of each seed entity to certain geographical area.

Previous attempts could not be succeeded mainly due to resistance of seed companies because of multiple reasons. Farmers, on the other hands, continue to face challenge of low-quality seed. The mushrooming of seed companies generates little good for the farmers mainly due to lack of a robust regulatory framework, said sources.

The News International, 18 April 2021 | Source