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JICA Afghan Mission Visit to NARC for Regional Cooperation in Agriculture and Rural Development

Islamabad (April 27)……A delegation of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Mission from Afghanistan and JICA-Pakistan consisting of Mr. Jun Moriguchi, Ms. Yukiko Kikuchi, Mr. Satoshi Hamano, Mr. Amir Bukhari and Arshad Abbasi visited National Agricultural Research Centre (NARC) Islamabad to seek support from Pakistani scientists for Regional Cooperation in Agriculture and Rural Development in Afghanistan through sharing new scientific knowledge, interventions, experience and success stories of NARC / PARC.

Senior Scientist of NARC Dr. Tariq Mahmood, DDG (Plant Protection) presided over a meeting with JICA-Afghan Mission. Dr. Roshanzada, Senior Director Outreach Program gave a detail presentation about NARC. He said that NARC is the largest agriculture centre in Pakistan at national level. He briefed about NARC mandate and research activities; strategic research on national and regional priorities, emerging challenges in agriculture, explanatory research on new commodities, bridging the gaps with regional research agencies, and collaboration & linkages with international research centers. He also shared provincial research system, PARC research establishments, and extension & development efforts in national systems through conservation & supply of germplasm, human resources development, agricultural scientific information and commercialization of technologies & products.

The delegation was also informed about the project on “Capacity Development of Agriculture Extension Services in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province”. He said that the project has been implemented by NARC with the technical and financial support of JICA-Pakistan. Under this project 100 Agriculture Officers (AOs) / Subject Matter Specialists (SMSs) and 250 Field Assistants would be trained. Out of which, so far 73, AOs / SMS and 99 FAs have been trained at NARC and now they are capable to provide their services as master trainers in their area and guiding the farming community to improve their agriculture production on scientific lines. He also highlighted the success story of Farmers Field School (FFS) approach in which scientists and farmers work together in the field. Dr. Anjum Munir, Senior Director (DPEP) highlighted the success story of green revolution in Pakistan. He said in 60s CIMMYT and Pakistani scientists worked on wheat variety of Mexipak which was a high yielding variety and resulted green revolution in Pakistan. Dr. Tariq Hassan, DDG (Commercialization) & CEO PATCO and other senior scientists also shared their knowledge and experience with the participants.

Later on the delegation visited Department of Horticultural Research and Development (DHRD), Plant Genetic Resources Institute (PGRI) – GeneBank, National Institute of Genomics and Advanced Biotechnology (NIGAB) and Agriculture Polytechnique Institute (API) of NARC.

The JICA-Afghan Mission was very much impressed with the NARC research activities and its success stories and showed their interest in various interventions to seek support from Pakistani scientists for agriculture & rural development in Afghanistan.

 (Sardar Ghulam Mustafa)                                                          Edited by:  Muhammad FiazJoyia
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