US scientists to help combat crop diseases
ISLAMABAD, Sept 18: Pakistan-US cooperation has been intensified in the field of agriculture, and several American scientists travelled to Pakistan this month to help scientists as well as farmers combat diseases affecting principal crops, especially wheat and cotton.
On Tuesday, two high-level American scientists visited a research laboratory in Murree to join work on controlling wheat diseases.
Speaking to Pakistani scientists, Dr Kay Simmons, Deputy Administrator of US Department of Agriculture’s Research Services, said that “our work together helps Pakistani farmers spend less money on wheat seeds and ultimately leads to increased incomes and wheat yield for farming communities throughout Pakistan.”
The WPEP is an example of how American and Pakistani scientists are collaborating to find a seed resistant to infectious wheat diseases, he told Pakistani agricultural scientists, he said.
The visits of American scientists are taking place under the US-government sponsored wheat productivity enhancement programme.
Scientists of the two countries, in coordination with Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC), provincial agricultural research centres and the International Centre for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas (ICARDA), conducted a series of workshops and meetings this week to address problems affecting wheat productivity.
American and Pakistani agricultural scientists regularly collaborate on research to combat diseases affecting Pakistan’s principal crops, especially cotton and wheat. These scientific collaborations are part of the broader US effort to help Pakistan boost agricultural productivity.
As Pakistan benefits from scientific advancements that result from this collaboration, US efforts to improve linkages between producers and distribution networks provide greater market access for agricultural products, both nationally and internationally. The end result is improved income for farmers across Pakistan.
Over the past two weeks, five American scientists visited Pakistan to help scientists and farmers to counter cotton disease, which has infected cotton throughout the country’s cotton belt and can substantially reduce yields and incomes for farmers.
Scientists of the two countries, in coordination with the ministry of textiles and industry and ICARDA, held a workshop to develop solutions to the cotton leaf curl virus (CLCV) problem facing Pakistan.
The workshop was part of the US government sponsored cotton productivity enhancement programme.
The workshop completed a 10-day visit by the American technical team, which met Pakistani cotton scientists to discuss the results of research on CLCV.
The team also visited cotton breeding trials in Faisalabad and Multan.
As a result of these trials, which are funded by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), the team reported good that some new varieties of cotton are showing preliminary signs of resistance to CLCV.
Small farmers are especially vulnerable to economic impacts caused by this disease. Because of this, the US Department of Agriculture has designed the cotton disease research project to help Pakistani farmers.
American agricultural scientists continually visit Pakistan to collaborate on research to combat diseases affecting Pakistan’s principal crops, especially cotton and wheat.