ISLAMABAD - The government has activated seed monitoring system in markets to ensure availability of quality cotton seed to farmers community.

Any violation of Seed Act, 1976 will now be strictly dealt with, sources at Ministry of Textile Industry said here on Sunday.

The sources said 18 meetings of Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) and 12 meetings of National Biosafety Committee (NBC), Ministry of Climate Change have been held to discuss the submitted cases for approval of lab genetic manipulation work, field trial and exempt status of Bt. Cotton varieties and other Genetically Modified crops.

They said till to date 292 cases related to Genetically Modified crops research and development activities were received, 155 cases so far have been decided by NBC while TAC had recommended 37 cases for NBC decisions for Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and their products related activities.

Moreover, the sources said 55 cases of different activities are under process for next TAC meeting.

Highlighting the steps taken by government to certify bt.cotton seed, the sources said a joint strategy by Federal Seed Certification and Registration Department (FSC&RD), Ministry of National Food Security and Research and Seed Association of Pakistan (SAP) is being developed for availability of quality cotton seed for Kharif 2014-15.

The salient features of the strategy for availability of quality cotton seed include clearance of Provincial Seed Councils (PSC) would be required while National Biosafety Committee (NBC) clearance for commercialization was also being sought.

They said on clearance from PSC and NBC, certification cover would be provided by FSC&RD.

The sources said to put Bt.cotton varieties in pedigreed seed production cycle, Breeder Nucleus Seed (BNS) and Pre-Basic crop seed be offered for crop inspection so that authentication of source may be verified through bio-technology laboratory in all the later categories of seed from basic to certified and approved seed.

The sources said due to financial constraints and non-provision of funds in FSC&RD, the applicant/seed company will provide Bt. strips/kits for testing of Bt and non Bt traits.

At first, Bt cotton seed certification system would be made operative and after meeting necessary regulatory formalities, certification tags will be issued to both public and private seed sectors.