The National Agricultural Research Centre (NARC), a subordinate institute of the Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC), has reported a theft worth millions of rupees from its premises.
According to a document received by The Express Tribune, around 264kgs of garlic worth millions of rupees were looted from the NARC’s premises, causing the largest agricultural research institute in the country a huge loss.
The theft comes ahead of the garlic’s growing season which starts in October as the scientists at the institute were all set to sell the highest-yield garlic variety keeping in view the demand and yield gap. The garlic variety, ‘NARC-G1’, is considered to be the highest variety among all the existing garlic variants in the country.
However, it is now feared that the breakdown in the supply chain will adversely affect the farmers who thrive on their produce. This is the second time that such an overwhelming amount of seeds have been stolen from the institute, pointing towards a rampant pattern with which they are looted.
According to the sources privy to the matter, the stolen garlic seeds usually reach the markets where they are sold by private sellers at the price of rupees three to four thousand per kilogram.
While an inquiry in this regard has already been instituted under a committee, the actual theft may have been far more massive as the NARC cultivates the seeds at an expansive area of 13 acres, the sources added.
The committee has been asked to prepare a report on the theft and submit it to the administration.
NARC chief Sibtain Shah told The Express Tribune that a high-level committee has been formed and the facts of the matter will be revealed soon.
According to the sources, a similar incident of garlic seed theft was also reported last year with the culprits still at large.