The United States is committed to working with Pakistan to increase productivity and income in the agriculture sector in order to improve the livelihood of the farmers. John Groarke, Mission Director United States Agency for International Development (USAID), said this while speaking at launching ceremony of Biofortified Maize hybrid seed in Pakistan and handover of Maize parental seed at National Agricultural Research Center (NARC) on Wednesday.
Groarke said that for the last 50 years, US and Pakistan have been working together to strengthen Pakistan’s agriculture and improve the productivity of crops including wheat, rice and maize. “Due to joint efforts of US and Pakistan, the production of wheat crop has increased by 25 percent during last few years,” he added.
He handed over new varieties of maize seed to Pakistani research organisations and private sector seed companies. The new varieties of maize were identified and provided by USAID agriculture innovation program in coordination with the NARC, in an effort to improve the production of quality hybrid maize seed in Pakistan. The USAID Mission Director said that maize seeds will benefit farmers and increase access to nutritious food to million of Pakistanis.
In addition to partnering together in the field, he said, “we are also collaborating in the classroom, so the next generation of scientists can find new ways to improve the lives of Pakistani farmers.” Through the Agricultural Innovation Program, USAID is providing graduate school fellowships to Pakistani scientists and researchers at leading US agricultural universities, he said.
Dr. Muhammad Hashim Popalzai, Additional Secretary, Ministry of National Food Security and Research said that the new varieties seed would play a pivotal role in increasing the productivity of maize, wheat, and rice as the quality seed is one of the major challenges for Pakistan’s agriculture.
He said that the government is committed to strengthening agriculture sector in order to improve the livelihood of farmers. Muhammad Sadiq Tahir, a farmer from Rawalakot, Azad Jammu, and Kashmir speaking on the occasion said that seeds will improve the quality of his harvest for years to come.
USAID Agricultural Innovation Program is a four-year $30 million initiative designed to increase productivity and incomes in the agriculture sector through the promotion and dissemination of modern production practices for wheat maize, rice, livestock, fruit, and vegetable. The varieties of maize distributed are bred to resist drought and heat stress and have enhanced nutritional quality. They also have increased tolerance to insect attack and low soil nitrogen.
Source: Business Recorder