ISLAMABAD: American scientists and Pakistani wheat experts are collaborating to increase Pakistan’s wheat harvest and ensure greater prosperity to farmers nationwide. A bi-national team of scientists, sponsored by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to evaluate wheat varieties for disease-resistance, Radio Pakistan reported. In order to determine which wheat varieties will perform best in Pakistan’s unique ecosystem, US and Pakistani researchers studied the effects of heat and other types of environmental stress on the different varieties of wheat that can be planted in Pakistan.
The USDA through its Wheat Productivity Enhancement Project (WPEP), currently helps evaluate 60 wheat varieties planted in 115 wheat trials throughout Pakistan. In order to increase the quality of this joint research, last week USDA also provided Pakistani research institutions specialised wheat planting and harvesting equipment. The new machines, which replaced equipment over 25 years old, will allow scientists to study more wheat varieties each year and more rapidly improve Pakistani farmers’ harvest yields. “Wheat is critical to the food security of both Pakistan and the United States,” said USDA Plant Health Adviser Ian Winborne after a ceremony at Ayub Agricultural Research Institute (AARI) celebrating the handover of the new equipment. Winborne further added “Lasting links between Pakistani and US scientists can help improve and protect agricultural harvests in both our countries.”
WPEP facilitates scientific collaboration between USDA, the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), and Pakistan’s national wheat programs. WPEP funds scientific exchanges to develop, introduce, and test disease-resistant wheat varieties, improve agronomic practices, and upgrade research capacity in Pakistan.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 20th, 2013.Like Business on Facebook to stay informed and join in the conversation.