Islamabad (May 23)……The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT), U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) and other Partners convened 5 days Maize breeding program management and statistical data under Agricultural CIMMYT at a local hotel in Islamabad to share new knowledge and innovations.
While officially opening the meeting, the Chairman Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) Dr. Nadeem Amjad said that the maize is the third most important cereal crop in Pakistan. The average yield of maize in Pakistan, currently around 4 ton/ha, is one of the highest in South Asia. He said the commodity needs further intervention in the areas of well adopted varieties, seed quality and high input costs. As Pakistan is among the water scarce countries, it is imperative to have water efficient maize cultivars that can effectively utilizes available surface water so that farmers can reduce the number of irrigations they provide to the crop. Varieties that can withstand drought and other biotic and abiotic stresses are important particularly for small scale farmers. He said the CIMMYT in partnership with national partners is testing maize varieties tolerant to stem borer, low nitrogen and drought stress which is a commendable effort not only it address the issue of our small scale farmers but also contributes for a greener agriculture.
Chairman PARC said that the Maize is heavily dependent on imported hybrid seeds which often exceed 85%. Despite the favorable climatic conditions, Pakistan has skilled and trained manpower in the area of maize germplasm development that can adapt the various agro-ecologies remains the main challenge that needs an aggressive intervention. Today crop improvement techniques are getting advanced with each passing day and countries who are investing in cutting edge science and state of the art technologies are not only self sufficient but they are also leading exporters of their surplus production. It is indeed regrettable that the number of competent agricultural scientists in Pakistan is getting down as compared to the 1980’s where Pakistan was on the top of having enough and practical scientists graduated from the world class universities. Today this figure is alarmingly decreasing and we are unable to keep the pace for various reseason.
We have very few or handful of pracitical scientists in the field of crop modeling bioinformatics double haploid techniques quantitative genetics marker assisted breeding, and advanced agricultural statistical software among others which are imperativbe tools to modernize and enhance the productivity of our agriculture in general and that of wheat and maize in particular. This training in breeding and biometry will no doubt contribute to the routine work at your institutions.
On this occasion,Drs. Matew/Gregorio, CIMMYT- Mexico gave a detail introduction to the course Country Liaison Officer-CIMMYT-Pakistan briefed about the AIP Project updates, CIMMYT Maize Improvement and Seed System Specialist gave a detail presentation on AIP-Maize: progress review and summary of achievements.Principal Scientific Officer / Program Leader (Maize) NARC also highlighted meeting objectives and detailed overview of project.
Sardar Ghulam Mustafa) Edited by: Muhammad FiazJoyia
Director (PR&P), PARC Director (SI), NARC
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