President urges scientists to work on genetic diversity in agriculture sector

ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari on Wednesday called upon the scientists to conduct research on genetic diversity on the country’s major crops of wheat, rice and cotton so as to produce disease resistant and high yielding variety of these crops. “Time has come that we move from green revolution to gene revolution,” he said while chairing a presentation on overall review of agricultural research activities with emphasis on cotton and wheat given by Pakistan Agriculture Research Council (PARC) here at the Aiwan-e-Sadr.The President urged the federal and provincial research institutions and universities to work together for developing and introducing latest technologies in agriculture and farming sector to enhance crop production to meet the growing challenge of food security in the country.Scientists and Researchers in Pakistan should focus on devising strategies to increase wheat and cotton yield in a situation where the country is facing the growing challenges of increased population, reduced water availability and deteriorating soil health in the country, he added.The presentation was attended among others by Minister for Food and Agriculture, Nazar Muhammad Gondal, Secretary General to the President, M. Salman Faruqui, Deputy Chairman Planning Commission, Nadeem Ul Haque, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Water Resources, Kamal Majidullah, Spokesperson to the President Farhatullah Babar, federal secretaries, food and agriculture and planning and development, the Chairman Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited (ZTBL), the Chairman PARC, the Chairman Pakistan Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (PCSIR), Member Planning Commission, Dr. Samar Mubarakmand, Member Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC), Dr. Abdul Rashid, Rector FAST (Foundation for Advancement of Science and Technology), heads of agriculture research organizations and food departments of all the provinces including AJK, Vice Chancellors of agriculture universities and other senior government officials of the relevant ministries and departments.

Chairman PARC, Dr. Mohammad Afzal gave a detailed briefing on an overall review of agricultural research activities with emphasis on cotton and wheat, new technologies and innovations in farming, hybrid seeds development, Pakistan China collaborative projects in drip irrigation and hybrid cotton and wheat and other ongoing and planned projects of PARC.The President said that research is a basic pillar of agriculture development and urged for according priority to the development of high yielding and disease resistant hybrid cotton, wheat, and rice to cope with the surging food demand with the increasing population of the country.The President advised the agricultural ministry and PARC to follow the concept of modernized farming and develop plans for helping the small and fragile farmers and reiterated commitment of the present government to improve the livelihood of small farmers and rural population.The President appreciated PARC for its contribution in cotton research and development of latest technologies and expressed the hope that collaboration with China will continue for improvement of agriculture in general and wheat and cotton in particular – APP