Need to maintain wheat production, reserves emphasised
LAHORE (September 28 2010): Besides achieving self-sufficiency in wheat production, Pakistan should also maintain its reserves to tackle food problems during natural calamities. This was stated by Dr Noor-ul-Islam, Director General Agriculture (Research), AARI while addressing a meeting of agricultural scientists, held to finalise Annual Research Programme of Wheat 2010-2011.
Dr Noor-Ul-Islam emphasised importance of incorporating valuable viewpoint from various quarters while finalising wheat research programme. He drew attention of agricultural scientists towards the immediate and long-term challenges for wheat production in the country.
On the occasion, Makhdoom Hussain, Director Wheat Research Institute, Faisalabad presented Annual Wheat Research Programme and informed that since 1948 to 2010, wheat production in Pakistan has increased up to 598 percent whereas its area has increased up to 129 percent, which is a great achievement.
He informed that Wheat Research Institute of Faisalabad is collaborating with foreign institutions of wheat research like CIMMYT (Mexico), ICARDA (Syria), KARI (Kenya) and other South Asian countries in developing new high yielding wheat varieties.
Elaborating more about ‘Annual Wheat Research Programme’, he informed that institute is evolving wheat varieties which could give higher yield under heat stress conditions. Efforts are also being made to develop drought and salt tolerant varieties, he added.
The institute’s new line, resistant to UG99 disease, is in pipeline. Previously, the institute released (Lasani 2008) UG99 resistant variety. Varieties are also being screened at the institute, which could give higher yield under low and high temperatures.
Makhdoom said research work would also be done to determine optimum sowing time and seed rate for different wheat varieties. Effect of micro-nutrients on wheat yield would also be studied in proposed research programme. Scientists offered various suggestions in improving research programme and said that effect of climatic changes should also be studied and a wheat variety should be developed which should possess traits like heat, drought and salt tolerance.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr Abdul Majid, representative ICARDA appreciated co-operation among scientists of agricultural research institutions in preparing Annual Wheat Research Programme and hoped that through this co-operation, quality of wheat research work would considerably be improved. Prominent wheat breeders, agronomists and plant pathologists from all four provinces of the country attended the meeting.-PR