LAHORE - By giving preference to the national seed industry over US company, the Punjab government has saved $100 million in shape of royalty while it has also averted an indirect loss of billions of dollars to the agriculture sector. This was stated by LCCI President and Chairman Seed Association of Pakistan Shahzad Ali Malik while addressing the members of Seed Association here on Friday. By not signing exclusive agreement, the Punjab Government has encouraged the national seed industry and multinationals to make further investments and tap the true market potential. We feel highly encouraged by recent developments and vibes coming out of the Punjab Government, stated Shahzad Ali Malik. Shahzad Ali Malik said that encouragement to national seed industry would help strengthen government hands that would be in a better position to have bargaining with the foreign technology providers in biotech. There is no point in dishing out precious foreign exchange for a Bt Cotton technology that is available to the government absolutely free of cost. He informed the participants of the meeting that a US company has proposed to charge the Government 7-14 U.S Dollars per acre for its Bollgard-II technology that has still not been proven to perform in local cotton seed varieties as yet and local field trials of varieties not conducted so far. The proposal envisages that a survey would be held every Cotton season to determine the total number of acres planted with Bollgard-II cotton. Farmers who use saved seeds or purchased seeds from sources other than the US company, could be penalized as per the Action plan announced by MINFA in April, 2010. Malik said that the US company, having meetings with the CM, is well known for penalizing/suing farmers on saved seed and related issues in the U.S, Canada and Australia. The agreement could make Punjab Government a litigant against local farmers virtually acting as legal agents of Monsanto in Pakistan and this would be a very bad situation for a developing country like ours.