How does a UAF Lecturer propose to help farmers? By integrating business management and quality control practices into Pakistan's seed sector industry.
Pakistani farmers face numerous obstacles in improving agricultural production. One of the main challenges is procuring quality seed that offers a durable and productive crop. Throughout the world, seed certification programs exist so that farmers can access seed that is guaranteed to be clean, viable, and varied. This guaranteed quality assurance allows farmers to minimize crop risk, maximize crop production, and access premium markets.
In Pakistan, only 20-23% of the available seed for purchase is certified. Through USPCAS-AFS, there is now a plan to increase those percentages through training at University of Agriculture, Faisalabad (UAF).
Adnan Adeel is the first Pakistani national to become a Certified Seed Sampler, a certification which he received during his USPCAS scholar exchange at UC Davis. Mr. Adeel is a Lecturer in the Institute of Business Management Sciences at University of Agriculture, Faisalabad (UAF), and a member of the Masters’ in Science in Seed Science & Technology Graduate Group. His goals during his four-month scholar exchange through USPCAS were to revise and develop the curricula for the UAF Seed Science and Technology Masters’ Program and to learn more about seed sector development in the United States.
“Since the independence of Pakistan, sustainable agricultural production as well as food security are the major challenges that face Pakistan. Along with other technological advancements, high quality seed is our base prerequisite for advancements in agricultural production,” states Mr. Adeel. “There is a need for continuous improvement in our seed provision strategies. However, we have a serious lack of skilled workers available for the Pakistan seed industry.”
The procedure for certifying seed can be daunting: field inspections, harvest inspections and reports, seed conditioning inspections, sampling & analysis, and storage inspections must all take place prior to the auditing stage, where the processes that produced the seed are evaluated for discrepancies. Seed companies that are found to have discrepancies in their production system chain can face penalties or even lose their certification, damaging their reputation as a trusted seed producer.
Analyzing a seed production system requires specific knowledge of the processes involved in growing, producing, and storing quality seed. The California Crop Improvement Association (CCIA) runs several yearly trainings for seed sampling and for those looking to become a Certified Seed Sampler. Mr. Adeel attended one of these trainings, where he learned about sampling processes and equipment, how to sample from multiple storage containers, and how to examine seeds to determine content.
The CCIA Seed Sampler Certification, which is recognized in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Australia, is valid for three years. Mr. Adeel is the only Pakistani national to receive this certification.
“I got a chance to attend the training, thanks to a suggestion from my mentors in the Seed Biotechnology Center at UC Davis,” says Mr. Adeel. “I am now a certified seed sampler.”
Along with the certification, Mr. Adeel visited various seed companies around the Bay Area, including the Butte County Rice Growers Association, Lockwood Seed and Grain, Lundberg Family Farms, and Monsanto’s research & development headquarters in Woodland. These visits to seed producers helped Mr. Adeel understand how best to improve protocols in his home country, which he included in a position paper on the Pakistan seed industry.
He also developed several plans to update the curriculum offerings at UAF, including revising the seed business management course offered in 2017, creating a seed business training course and workshop for Pakistani seed industry workers, publishing his position paper on current Pakistan seed policy, and codifying a seed sampler training workshop for UAF students and other interested people.
“I want to teach my students how to sample seeds, since in Pakistan, only one authority is responsible for certifying seed, and we don’t know their process. If my students know how to sample seed, the basic recommended methods and protocols, then they can adjust their mindset and help facilitate change when they join seed companies in Pakistan.”
Mr. Adeel doesn’t just plan to teach seed sampling methods–he plans to influence how students develop new seed products and consider entering new markets. He plans to integrate competitors’ analysis and consumer studies into his curricula by creating a ‘virtual seed company’ in his classroom, making students participate in decision-making and risk analysis in small working groups. He also wants to invite guest speakers from industry and research institutions to advise students on basic management principles and practices, including quality control.
“Students should understand the legal complications of product liability,” he says. “They should know how to address product concerns, since they are working to produce seed that is reliable for farmers and growers.”
The U.S.-Pakistan Center for Advanced Studies (USPCAS) is educating and training the next generation of scientists, engineers, and policy makers through innovative academic programs crucial for Pakistan’s development in agriculture and food security. Through applied research, academia-industry collaboration, and policy formation, USPCAS enhances Pakistan’s economic growth and prosperity. USPCAS was made possible by support from the American people through United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
This web page is made possible by the support of the United States Government and the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents of this web page are the sole responsibility of UC Davis and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.
Profile written by Levi McGarry.