EghtesadOnline: Iran meets around 98% of its domestic demand for hybrid vegetable seed through imports that cost the country between $95-110 million per year, according to a recent report published by Majlis Research Center.
Hybrid seed production is costly, time-consuming, exacting and requires complex scientific knowledge, therefore, not much research has ever been carried out in Iran, its report said.
Iran ranks among the top 10 producers of some vegetable and gourd products in the world, the center said, drawing on figures released by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
According to FAO, Iran is one of the world’s second biggest producer of cucumbers and watermelon, third biggest producer of melons, fifth biggest producer of aubergines and onions, sixth producer of tomatoes and seventh producer of lettuce and cabbage.
Land under cultivation of agronomical products in the fiscal 2017-18 stood at 11 million hectares, only 7.3% of which were dedicated to vegetables and gourd products. This is while the latter accounted for 31.6% out of the 81.2 million tons of agronomical yield over the same year.
This, the report says, shows the high share of vegetables and gourd products in Iran’s agricultural production and food safety.
Hybrid seed industry is a vital field determining to what extent a country can expand its agricultural activities, create jobs in the sector, secure its food safety and reduce its vulnerability in the face of environmental, economic and political crises.
This, say the center’s researchers, calls for a reform in the outlook and policies with which agricultural research officials approach the issue.
A policy shift in favor of hybrid seed research can guarantee high-quality seed production that can not only meet domestic demand but also supply part of the global market.