LAHORE - Punjab Seed Council has approved for general cultivation eighteen new varieties of various crops including one wheat variety ARRI-10, one sugarcane variety CPF-246 and one paddy variety Basmati-515. The approval of these varieties was accorded in 40th meeting of Punjab Seed Council held at Agriculture House chaired by Malik Ahmad Ali Aulakh, Minister for Agriculture, Punjab. Ameer Khatak Additional Secretary Agriculture Punjab, Muzafar Mahmood Managing Director Punjab Seed Corporation, Enayat Ullah Khan Agricultural Development Commissioner, Syed Muhammad Nasir Ali Director General FSC&RD;, Dr. Noor-ul-Islam Director General Agri (Research) representatives of farmers and other agricultural scientists attended the meeting. Punjab Seed Council also extended one-year provisional approval for general cultivation of four BT Cotton varieties namely IR-1524, FH-113, Ali Akbar-802 and Neelam-121. The approved varieties of other crops included MMRI Yellow, Pearl, FH-810 Hybrid and Yousafwala Hybrid of maize, Chakwal Masoor & Mash Arooj of pulses, Hybrid LITTH-514 & Line-07001 of Tomato, Ravi of Melon, S-2005 of Millet, F-9917 of Sorghum, Rye Grass-1 of Grass, Super Late Faisalabad of Barseem and 2-KCG-020 of Groundnut. New approved varieties have more yield potential and resistance to insect pests and diseases. The breeders of these new approved varieties briefed the participants about production technology of the varieties developed with extensive research. The Minister for Agriculture, Punjab congratulated the breeders of new varieties and appreciated their contribution in agriculture sector. He said that lion's share of available resources is being diverted to develop agriculture on modern lines in the province as this particular sector is top priority of the Government to achieve self sufficiency and self reliance on sustainable basis. He further added that 52 new varieties of different crops have been approved during regime of present Government since 2008 whereas only 33 were approved by previous Government during their five years tenure. On this occasion he urged the farmers to grow latest high yielding approved varieties to make country self-sufficient in agricultural commodities, paving way for increasing agricultural exports for earning precious foreign exchange.