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PARC – the custodian of food security

[caption id="attachment_14135" align="alignright" width="113" caption="Dr. Iftikhar Ahmed"][/caption]

Governance: The overall decision making body of PARC is its Board of Governors (BoG), responsible for the control, direction and superintendence of PARC. The Board is assisted in its operation by a number of Committees. The Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research is the President of the Board.
Executive Committee: Executive Committee comprising Chairman and Members of the Council is the principal administrative body responsible for executing all policies and discharging the functions of the Council. Matters relating to research planning, coordination, budget and policy formulation are referred to the Board for seeking its guidance and general direction.
Chairman: Chairman PARC is the Chief Executive of the Council. He is assisted by four Technical Members and two other Members, one each for Finance and Coordination. Currently it is headed by Dr. Iftikhar Ahmad who holds Ph.D degree in Plant Biology from University College of North Wales, Bangor, UK. He has served at senior position in PARC for about 28 years in the capacity of DG, DDG, CSO, PSO and has vast experience of handling large research establishments/ working groups. In recognition of his excellence expertise in agricultural sciences, he was conferred the Best Scientist of the Year Award in 1999 by PARC. He was also honoured with the Pakistan Academy of Sciences Gold Medal 1999 for contribution in agricultural research.
Statutory Functions:
• Undertake aid, promote and coordinate agricultural research.
• Arrange expeditious utilization of research results.
• Establish research establishments mainly to fill in the gaps in existing programmes of agricultural research.
• Arrange the training of high level scientific manpower in agricultural sciences.
• Generate, acquire and disseminate information relating to agriculture.
• Establish and maintain a reference and research library.
• Perform any other functions related to the matters aforesaid.
The Council conducts research, specially of a basic and long term nature in areas of national importance, which are either neglected or inadequately covered or are beyond the resources of the provincial institutions requiring sophisticated and costly equipment and facilities as well as highly qualified but scarce manpower and frequent interaction with international agricultural research institutions.
Organizational Structure: At present, PARC has six divisions, four technical division i.e. Crop Sciences, Natural resources, Animal Sciences, Social Sciences and two services division i.e. Finance and Coordination.
The activities of various technical divisions related to statutory functions of PARC are handled through in-house research establishments of PARC and through country wide cooperative research programs on various commodities, MoUs with national/international research organizations, PSDP funded projects and also through competitive grant of Agricultural Linkages Program, Ministry of Science and Technology and other institutions.
Crop Sciences Division:Natural Resources Division: The Natural Resources research is oriented towards regeneration of innovative technologies for efficient management of land and water resources and for boosting agricultural productivity under arid and mountainous environmental conditions.
Animal Sciences Division: The objective of PARC activities on animal sciences is improvement of production potential of animal genetic resources available in the country. The research addresses areas like Animal Health, Animal Nutrition, Animal Reproduction, Dairy Technology, Breeding of Small & Large Ruminants and Aquaculture & Fisheries.
Socio-economic research plays a key role in linking crop and livestock improvement and resource management research into real life farming systems; in analyzing how well new innovations meet farmers’ need; and identifying and helping to resolve constraints to technology adoption.
PARC Establishments: PARC has four Research Centers, eleven Institutes and one station where research is conducted according to the agro-ecological needs of various regions.
National Agricultural Research Centre (NARC) Islamabad: Spread over a total land area of approximately 1400 acres located near Rawal Lake. It comprises all the sub sectors of agriculture and is mandated to pursue mission oriented research with full historical appreciation of the already existing provincial research institutes and the universities. It constitutes a vital component of National Agricultural Research System (NARS) Established in 1984; NARC is the largest research institution of PARC.
Southern Agricultural Research Centre (SARC) Karachi: The Centre is located within the Karachi University Campus. The Research setup includes Coastal Agricultural Research Station; Crops Diseases Research Institute; Grain Storage Research Institute; Livestock & Fisheries Research Unit & Vertebrate Pest Control Institute.
Arid Zone Research Institutes have been established in all the four provinces’ cities - Quetta, Bahawalpur, Umerkot and D. I. Khan.
National Tea Research Institute (NTRI) Mansehra: The major research thrust of the Institute is to develop tea production technology including the selection of suitable varieties, standardization of agronomic practices and processing techniques.
National Sugarcane Research Institute (NSCRI) Thatta: Set up in the delta coastal zone of Sindh to conduct research on breeding of improved sugarcane varieties.
Summer Agricultural Research Station (SARS) Kaghan: This Station is a unique facility with PARC to speed up the development of high yielding varieties by cutting down the variety development period to half using its high altitude conditions. Two cropping seasons can be availed due to this facility, one in plains and the other in Kaghan.
Mountain Agricultural Research Centre (MARC) Gilgit: The Institute is conducting research on deciduous fruits, vegetables, wheat, maize, food legumes, forestry, medicinal plants, and species, etc. in the high altitude arid region.
Coordination and Linkages: PARC works in close collaboration with the provincial research institutes and the universities. The provincial Secretaries of Agriculture, Livestock and Forestry Departments, Vice Chancellors of Agriculture Universities and farmers/end users are represented on the PARC Board of Governors (BoG). The collaboration has been further institutionalized by PARC through the forum of Inter-Provincial Agricultural Research Coordination Committee (IPARCC) on which the Provincial Directors General / Directors of Research / Extension Department, Vice Chancellors as well as Chief Economists of Planning and Development Departments Quetta and Peshawar are represented.
National coordination research programs on different crop commodities are being implemented by PARC in collaboration with the provincial / federal research / education institution and these provide yet another mechanism for strengthening the PARC linkages. PARC also sponsors research in the provincial institutions on priority problems through contract research projects which are implemented by scientists of provincial institutes and universities.
The varieties developed by the provincial research institutes are evaluated by the Variety Evaluation Committee (VEC) which is headed by Member (Plant Sciences) of PARC and is represented by the provincial scientists from all the provinces.
National Coordination: Ministries of National Food Security and Research, Planning and Development, Finance and Science & Technology are represented on the Board of Governors of PARC. Issues of national importance having bearing on agricultural research and development in the country and identified in the PARC Board of Governors are taken up with the concerned federal Ministries/Departments. Similarly, PARC scientific staff serves on the Technical Committees and Governing Bodies of federal organizations like PCRWR, PAEC, STEDEC, Federal Committee on Agriculture, University Grants Commission, Universities and Planning and Development Division.
International Cooperation and Linkages: Agricultural Linkages Program (ALP) established under an agreement signed between Govt. of Pakistan and USA in 1999, provided 200,000 tonnes of wheat valued at US $ 23.222 million as a grant to Pakistan. Out of this Rs 1.3 billion was approved as Agriculture Research Endowment Fund (AREF) by the ECC for utilization of its income by PARC for funding research projects all over Pakistan. Currently, 335 ALP projects are in operation whereas 255 projects have been completed. The ALP projects are being implemented in agricultural research institutes and universities all over the country.
Contribution to National Agricultural Research System: PARC contributions to the national system include, inter-alia; funding of research projects of national interest; funding and implementation of coordinated research monitoring, review and evaluation; training for agriculture scientists; coordination with research institutes; collection and supply of germ plasm; variety evaluation; material support (lab. equipment, vehicles, computers, etc) lab, equipment maintenance and services; sponsoring for participation in overseas meeting; information service, database and supply of literature; linkages with international research centers; publication; national awards and medals and holding of conferences and seminars for promotion of agricultural research.
PARC as the focal point of agricultural research is functioning and will continue to function as a conduit for exchange of knowledge, skills and technical materials between provincial, federal and international research to stimulate the progress of agricultural development.


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