JUNE 2018 SEEDWORLD.COM / 69 research facility by the central government two years ago. This means that the seeds designed and produced by our research scientists are recog- nized and can be sold across the country,” Reddy says. He says that ASR Seeds had a tie-up with United Phosphorus Ltd (UPL) under which UPL will be launching a granule, which can absorb a substantial amount of water. “The granule is called Zeba and it is being used in drought- prone areas of Maharashtra to improve the absorption of water in the farms. Zeba granules can absorb large quantities of water, which helps in keeping the well-irri- gated using lesser quantities of water,” Reddy says. Reddy, whose family started ASR Seeds in 2008, says that the company’s seeds, particularly those for red chilli, pepper, vari- ous pulses and cotton, are marketed in several states, including Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Gujarat. ASR Seeds produced seeds using the open-pollinated method and the hybrid variety. Elaborating on the com- pany’s strategy to foray into areas other than seed manu- facturing, Reddy says that ASR Seeds is in the process of launching bioproducts, using patent-protected products from a United States-based company. —Source: Times of India. STATUS NIGERIA Farmers are expecting, to enjoy bumper harvest this year occasioned by the pre- diction of normal rainfall and adherence to best agronomy practices. This comes even as climate change threatens the rainfall pattern. In Benue State, most farm- ers believe that the rain, which had just begun, was late for the season, but experts think otherwise, noting that the downpour was right on time. Daily Trust reports that earlier this year, the Nigerian Metrological Agency (NIMET)’s annual seasonal rainfall prediction had indi- cated the probability of bountiful harvest following expected normal rainfall. To this end, farmers are not only required to plant early maturity crops, but also must take advantage of the plan to be educated, possibly by gov- ernments on which type of crops to plant so as to reduce losses and maximize gains. In Benue, farmers have begun tilling following last week’s rain, while others have started planting mostly yam, maize and melon. The state’s chairman of the All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), Aondona Hembe Kuhe, admits that the rains started a bit late but that maize and groundnut farmers should expect high yields. Kuhe, who expressed worry that the current insecu- rity in the state had displaced nearly a million farmers from their rural homes, says the desertion of their farms could affect food security. He says if the rains had begun in March, farmers would have produced early maize to sustain food security, noting that yam should also have been planted earlier, between November and February. The AFAN chairman advised farmers to engage in best agronomy practices to guard against diseases which may affect their crops, especially stressing the need for yam farmers to apply right solutions according to their soils across the state for bumper results. “Diseases will affect yam from the soil due to the rain- fall, so farmers should apply right solution as appropriate for soil in different locations of the state,” he says. A farmer, Ogli Sunday, says because the rains began in May does not mean it will affect expected harvest as in his estimation, the timing was alright for his crops such as yam, maize and melon which were still being planted. Sunday urged the state government to supply farmers with genuine fertilizers before the end of this month for a bumper harvest to be realized, else the idea of making the produce available in June/July would upset expectations. Another farmer in the state, Victor Anyebe, appealed that the state government should urgently provide necessary inputs for the rural farmers to mitigate pests attack on crops and control other diseases so that good harvest can be achieved for food sustainability. In Katsina State, farmers are now set for the take-off of farming activities for this rain-fed season. —Source: Daily Trust. STATUS PAKISTAN High-yielding hybrid rice will increase to 50 percent of the total area planted with paddy in the next three years, from the current range of 25 percent to 30 percent. This will increase the output by 2 million tons, says Guard Rice Research and Services CEO Shahzad Ali Malik. Plantation of hybrid rice seeds in Pakistan is being spearheaded by national seed companies, mainly in collabo- ration with the Chinese firm Guard Agri. Malik, who was found- ing president of the Seed Association of Pakistan and ex-president of the Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan, says with efforts of local scientists, the role of the private sector in seed research and development grows day by day. In hybrid rice, around 90 percent of the area planted with the long-grain seed lies in Sindh, while the remaining 10 percent is cultivated in south Punjab. —Source: The Express Tribune. SW