The federal government and the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) have agreed to collaborate to increase the wheat yield of Pakistan by promoting high-yield wheat seed varieties across the country.
On Wednesday, CIMMYT’s Country Representative for Pakistan, Dr. Muhammad Imtiaz, called on the Federal Minister for National Food Security, Fakhr Imam, to discuss ways to increase the use of high-yielding, climate-resilient and rust-resistant seed varieties.
During the meeting, both stressed upon the need to employ evidence-based decision making to bridge the yield gap of Pakistan and ensuring reasonable support price for farmers.
Fakhr Imam underscored the need for top quality variety and timely planting of wheat seed along with strengthening the seed system value chain, adding that the wheat yield of Pakistan can be maximized by using optimum inputs like fertilizer, irrigation water, herbicides, and fungicides.
Dr. Imtiaz said that more and more farmers should be encouraged to employ modern machinery and technologies such as line sowing, use zero tillage, and surface seeding, adding that farmers should adopt effective storage practices to avert post-harvest losses as well.
He apprised the minister that CIMMYT has so far trained 10,000 farmers across Pakistan in this regard.
Dr. Imtiaz further added that most farmers are using decade-old varieties of wheat seeds in Pakistan that result in a 50% lower yield in comparison to the modern varieties. In other words, modern seed varieties can double the wheat output of existing crops.
According to a report of Agricultural Innovative Programme (AIP), funded by the USAID, newer varieties of wheat seeds result in up to 5% to 17% higher yield than the older ones. Wheat Productivity Enhancement Programme (WPEP) envisages a food secure future owing to the widespread use of modern wheat seeds that could increase yield by 12% to 40% annually, Dr. Imtiaz concluded.