Comparative Economics of Domestic and Imported Pre-Basic Potato Seed

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INTRODUCTION

There is a need to increase and ensure food availability for the future in the face of population growth of over 3 percent per annum. Potato is an important food crop and has the potential to supplement the production of cereals. Government and farmers can look forward to increase its productivity for more food, energy and income.

Potato is a high yielding cash crop, gives 12-15 times more tonnage per unit area than the cereals. It has more nutritional value as compared to some other important crops. In terms of income, potato can be the most profitable crop depending, of course, upon the market situation. In 1985-86 the value of potato crop was Rs.21.20 thousand per hectare. (Pak. Swiss Potato Development Project, Report 1989). This figure was substantially higher than the value of crops like wheat or rice per hectare. In 1994-95 according to latest estimates potato was grown over an area of 79.3 thousand hectares and the output was 1105 thousand tonnes (Agriculture Statistics of Pakistan, 1995).

The output of Potato crop depends upon the quality of seed used. Unfortunately, the quality of potato seed sown in Pakistan is generally very poor, because the seed stock is not being renewed regularly by the farmers. As a result the potato productivity has stared diminishing.

At present, on an average, only 3500 tongues, of certified seed (imported and local) is yearly supplied throughout Pakistan whereas the potential demand for certified seed is around 10000-12000 tonnes annually. On the average, the quantity of imported seed annually is around 2000 tonnes (PSPDP seed strategy paper 1990). There is extensive expenditure of foreign exchange (i.e. 700 to 1000 million rupees per year). The demand of potato seed can be either met by importing quality seed or by increasing the domestic production of quality seed. In Pakistan, tissue culture techniques are being used by specialists for producing quality pre basic seed. A number of Research institutes viz, Punjab Seed Corporation, Ayub Agricultural Research Institute, Faisalabad, National Agricultural Research Center, Islamabad, Pak German Seed Potato Project, Abbot Abad are producing potato pre basic seed.

This study was designed to compare the costs and benefits of domestically produced potato pre basic seed at the current level of output as well as at potential level of output with that of imported seed.

Materials and Methods

To determine the comparative economics of domestically produced and imported pre basic seed, total costs and benefits of domestically produced pre basic seed at current level and at potential level of output were compared with the imported seed. To do so two kinds of economic Analysis was carried out. First cost of production of domestically produced pre basic seed was calculated and then its costs and benefits were compared with imported seed. Primary data collected from Potato Tissue Culture Centre, of Punjab Seed Corporation Sahiwal were used to calculate cost of production of pre-basic seed.

Cost of Production

Full budgeting technique was used to calculate cost of pre basic seed production. The production of pre basic seed involves, production of plantlets by propagating merismetic tissues of a virus free mother plant under controlled environment of screen/green house, when they are allowed to grow for producing tuberlets which are multiplied the fields once or more than one time. Thus prebasic seed is prepared without losing its quality status. So First costs of plantlets, tuberlets and that of pre basic seed were calculated separately and then these costs were added. Cost of production of pre basic seed. was based on the following assumptions.

* Interest on capital was 12.5% per annum.

* Average life of the building was 40 years.

* Average life of the laboratory equipment was 12 years.

* Average life of the laboratory glassware was 5 years. …