US scientists to help increase Pak wheat harvest

STAFF REPORT FBD: American scientists and Pakistani wheat experts are collaborating to increase Pakistans wheat harvest and ensure greater prosperity to farmers nationwide.

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A bi-national team of scientists, sponsored by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), has recently met in Faisalabad to evaluate wheat varieties for disease-resistance. In order to determine which wheat varieties will perform best in Pakistans unique ecosystem, the US and Pakistani researchers studied the effects of heat and other types of environmental stress on the different varieties of wheat that can be planted in the country.

USDA, through its Wheat Productivity Enhancement Project (WPEP), currently helped evaluate 60 wheat varieties planted in 115 wheat trials throughout Pakistan. In order to increase the quality of this joint research, last week USDA also provided Pakistani research institutions specialized wheat planting and harvesting equipment. The new machines, which replaced equipment over 25 years old, will allow scientists to study more wheat varieties each year and more rapidly improve the farmers harvest yields.

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“Wheat is critical to the food security of both Pakistan and the US,” said USDA Plant Health Advisor Ian Winborne after a ceremony at the Ayub Agri Research Institute celebrating the handover of the new equipment.

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This initiative is just one part of a comprehensive US economic growth assistance programme which includes expanding irrigation by more than 200,000 acres near the Gomal Zam and Satpara Dams.

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