Islamabad (May 17, 2017)…… Cotton is the most important crop in Pakistan. A large population of our country is directly attached with this crop. USDA and ICARDA are helping Pakistan to conduct a comprehensive research on this disease focusing on the development of Virus resistant varieties using various approaches, training of farmers for the best management practices through Farmers, Field School and Agronomic Practices like sowing of cotton crop in standing wheat. This was stated by Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan, Minister for National Food Security and Research while addressing at the occasion of Sustainability Meeting of the Project “Improving Resistance to Cotton Leaf Curl Virus (CLCuV), Supporting Cotton Best Management Practices (BMPs) for Small Farmers”. This meeting was organized by International Centre for Agricultural Research in dry Areas (ICARDA) Pakistan at local hotel in Islamabad.
Minister MNFS&R said that I am a farmer and agriculture is in our roots. Cotton is one of the most important crops. We are on 4th number in the world in cotton production. Through this project we get the opportunity to work under one umbrella. I hope the team will overcome the leaf curl virus. This project is not just important for Pakistan but for other agricultural countries. Minister MNFS&R appreciated ICARDA for running this project in Pakistan.
Dr. Yusuf Zafar (T.I) Chairman PARC said at the occasion that I am here as an old colleague of cotton. Cotton is my first love in research field. I know that how hard people struggle to overcome the problems. Virus problem is a challenging problem, so we have to live with it as we are living with bird-flue. Marvelous effort done by this project. Due to this project outcome, we will have good crop variety in future. This project is at end but we will discuss and continue the project. We are ready to finance some projects because we know that cotton is a major crop of our agriculture sector. Govt. will facilitate by rupees 85 million loans for cotton project. Chairman PARC said that if we talk about the history we will see cotton lead with all the big names.
At the occasion Dr. Abdul Majid, Country Manager, ICARDA said that the project is going to end in June 2017. We have to look that, how we can develop the awareness of leaf and plants diseases. We have to learn new techniques from the different countries to overcome the disease. Institutional collaboration is needed regarding this aspect.
Dr. Brain Scheffler, Research Leader, USDA said that different issues like animal health and cotton project was so successful. It is my desire to talk about steps we taken in this project. We take initiatives to fight a common threat i.e Cotton Leave Curl Virus. Due to this disease 20 to 40% crops loss happen in Pakistan. We built this project for sometime but that is not enough. We plan to work further in Pakistan. The leaf curl virus is on large scale in Pakistan. It is also found in Australia and China too. Flies are another big problem and need no passport or visa. This virus is in top twenty threats in US. One of the biggest researches is to look up the virus that how it looks like. We have to look upon strategies that from where the virus comes, how we can overcome it. Pakistani farmers are highly effective by this virus. 13 projects are running on basis of various groups at 6 locations in Pakistan.
Dr. Jodi Scheffler Research Leader, USDA said that I worked by USDA for Pakistan. By collecting samples in the field we gathered the information. Best management practices to reduce the chance of viral infection. We need capacity development, confidence building and providing broacher to farmers in English and Urdu.
Dr. Khalid Abdullah, Cotton Commissioner said that when we receive the idea of this project we had so many meetings. So many human beings lost the plants because of this disease. Best part of this project is human resource development. We get very good results by this project.
Director (PR&P) PARC