ISLAMABAD - The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) on Monday transferred latest wheat sowing technology to Pakistan with an aim to enhance healthy wheat production in the country.
The USDA, under US-Pakistan Wheat Productivity Enhancement Project (WPEP), handed over wheat sowing planters to various research institutions and universities that would replace the traditional hand-sowing crop systems and antiquated machinery, currently utilized in Pakistan. The planters would initially be utilized on pilot projects in these institutions and would be replicated to transfer the technology to farmers to enhance their crop productivity.
The wheat planters were handed over to these institutions at a ceremony at National Agricultural Research Center (NARC) which was jointly organized by the USDA, International Center for Maize and Wheat Improvement (CIMMYT), Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC), and several Pakistani agriculture institutions and universities.
The USDA-sponsored WPEP has imported research-grade wheat planters for provincial and university partners to increase Pakistan’s wheat productivity.
Speaking on the handing-over ceremony, Secretary Ministry of National Food Security and Research (MNFS&R), Seerat Asghar said although population of the country was growing fast, we have been successful in catering to increasing food needs due to research conducted in the agriculture field.
He said that the wheat sowing technology should have been transferred three decades ago, however remarked that it was never too late, adding that the planters would particularly help small farmers to enhance their crop productivity. He said that the planters would be handed over to the local manufacturers to replicate the technology to ensure that farmers take benefit of this technology.
On the occasion, Chairman PARC, Dr Iftikhar Ahmad said that the WPEP project achieved the goal of increased productivity by introducing disease- resistant wheat varieties, building research capacity, improving disease surveillance systems, developing seed distribution systems, and modernizing national crop development programs through upgrading infrastructure and equipment.
USDA Agriculture Counselor in Pakistan, Clay Hamilton said that the transfer of planters to Pakistan was a symbol of long collaboration between Pakistan and US.
He stressed the need for enhancing links between researchers and farmers to achiever better results in agriculture production.
Director General NARC, Dr M Azeem Khan also spoke on the occasion and termed the inclusion of planters in Pakistan’s agriculture sector as a landmark development that would help produce better results of research in enhancing crop production.