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Scientists stressed to develop high quality seed varieties to boost agriculture output; Federal Secretary for M/O National Food Security & Research

Islamabad, October 22nd 2021. PARC is bringing technological and revolutionary change in agriculture by a sound and fair policy which harmonize the needs of farmers. This was said by Federal Secretary for National Food Security & Research during his visit at National Agricultural Research Centre, Islamabad. Dr. Ghulam Muhammad Ali, Chairman PARC along-with Syed Shamim ul Sibtain Shah DG NARC and other distinguished scientists warmly welcomed the honorable guest.

During visit, Chairman PARC briefed the federal secretary about setup of Pakistan Agricultural Research Council and its main accomplishments. The honorable guest was also briefed about the work of National Institute for Genomics and Advanced Biotechnology (NIGAB). The federal secretary took keen interest in PARC’s Thar Greening Model in Umerkot, Sindh. Agricultural mechanization technologies like Olive Oil Extraction Unit, Solar Dryer, Mobile Sugarcane Crusher, Groundnut Digger etc. developed and commercialized by PARC has facilitated the farmers by enhancing their crop productivity in many ways, this was told to the Federal Secretary NFSR during the meeting.Briefing on Potato tissue culture, the Chairman added that due to disease attack on local potato varieties, country has to import seed potato of 8th generation from Holland which costs millions of dollars. Now PARC is able to produce virus free potato tubers locally that will save our valuable foreign exchange. Aeroponic Potato Seed production system was also shared with the guest.

The honorable Federal Secretary was also told that NIGAB has embarked on new breeding technologies including speed cloning, speed breeding, genomic selection and genomic editing for enhancement of crop production. He was also briefed that NIGAB is actively involved in developing vaccine for disease prevention and epidemic control and also in selecting superior breeds of animals using NGS data for improved milk and meat productivity.

                While indicating the yield potential 80 to 120 mound per acre and grain length of 8.6 mm, the Chairman PARC told the guest that Green Super Rice (GSR) could be a harbinger of economic prosperity. Using latest technique of genome based breeding, NIGAB scientists, in collaboration with China, have developed these GSR lines. These GSR varieties are believed to be high yielding as it has resistance capacity to bacterial light, drought and heat along-with salinity and submergence tolerance. Banana varieties of PARC i.e. NIGAB-I & NIGAB-2 with higher productivity and shelf life were also discussed and appreciated by the federal secretary.

The Federal Secretary MNFSR visited National Gene bank of Pakistan at Plant Genetic Resources Institute (PGRI), Horticulture Research Institute (HRI), Agricultural Engineering Institute (AEI). Moreover, the Seed Processing and Storage complex facility comprise of a multi-crop fully automatic high-tech seed plant was also witnessed by the honorable Federal Secretary. Research innovations in livestock and fisheries were also seen during the visit.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Tahir Khursheed Federal Secretary for M/o NFSR said that prime focus of present government is to bring revolutionary change in agriculture. While appreciating the efforts of PARC’s scientists in agriculture the Minster marked the need to expand such modern techniques in all important R &D department of  agriculture.

(Ghulam Shabbir Mirza)
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