As farmers have shifted to high-yielding hybrid maize seeds from traditional or open pollinated varieties after the introduction of hybrid varieties, most of them use substandard hybrid seeds and old farming practices and fail to get desired production.
The farmers must use best-quality hybrid seeds to enhance the yield of corn or maize, which is widely used as food and feed, as low-quality seeds lead to a huge production loss.
Good-quality seeds are also important because of changing weather patterns as these will cope with harsh weather conditions, fit in changing crop rotations and most importantly provide much-needed economic benefits to the farmers, especially the small ones.
This was the upshot of discussions between Monsanto Pakistan’s agricultural experts and scores of farmers who visited the site of hybrid corn field trial in Sahiwal.
The field – Deklab Learning Centre – serves as a learning centre for the farmers. The trip, organised by Monsanto Pakistan, was part of the company’s ongoing initiative to educate and guide the farmers.
Around 400 corn farmers toured the Sahiwal field – the last of a series of events organised to showcase Monsanto’s new and existing corn products and best agronomic practices.
Earlier, the company organised such programmes in Chiniot, Okara and Depalpur.
Though the major objective was to educate the farmers, demonstrating on-field performance of latest and advanced ‘Deklab’ corn hybrids was also one of the objectives.
Teams of Monsanto Breeding and Technology Development unit told the farmers that some of the new corn hybrid seeds performed very well in harsh weather conditions. The farmers were also briefed about the new multi-purpose hybrid corn (DK 9108) that can be used not only for grain but also as a silage crop.
Speaking on the occasion, Monsanto Pakistan Breeding Lead Abdul Ghaffar said at least 8 to 10 years were needed to develop a corn hybrid and Monsanto, after rigorous testing, brought only those products to Pakistan that fit in its conditions and benefit the farmers.
Monsanto Commercial Operations Lead Muhammad Ilyas Nadeem said the company was committed to providing best-quality seeds to the farmers.
“Monsanto knows the needs of Pakistani farmers and that is why we always bring those technologies that benefit them,” he said, adding the company would continue to provide the farmers with opportunities of learning.
To a question, Nadeem responded that more than half of the corn produced in Pakistan was used as raw material for growing poultry feed, one fourth for industrial starch and the rest for human consumption and fodder for livestock. “Pakistan is hardly meeting the demand of corn as the industry’s demand is on the rise,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 28th, 2013.