PARC working on new breeding technologies to enhance crop production
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) chairman Dr Ghulam Muhammad Ali on Tuesday said that the council has started work on new breeding technologies, including speed cloning, speed breeding, genomic selection and genomic editing for enhancement of crop production for achieving food safety and security in the country.
Briefing federal secretary for the Ministry of National Food Security and Research Tahir Khursheed, who visited PARC, Dr Ali said that the National Institute for Genomics and Advanced Biotechnology (NIGAB) of PARC has also started producing virus-free potato tubers locally that would help save the foreign exchange of the country, besides increasing the output.
Due to the disease attack on local potato varieties, the country has to import seed potato of 8th generation from Holland, which costs millions of dollars, adding that the council was also actively involved in developing vaccine for disease prevention and epidemic control and also in selecting of superior breeds of animals using the Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) data for improved milk and meat productivity.
Indicating the yield potential of 80 to 120 maund/acre and grain length of 8.6mm, the PARC chairman said the Green Super Rice (GSR) could be a harbinger of economic prosperity, adding that using latest technique of genome based breeding, NIGAB scientists, in collaboration with China, have developed these GSR lines.
Besides, he said, banana varieties of PARC such as NIGAB-I and 2 with higher productivity and shelf life were also developed, adding that these varieties would help enhance the income of local farmers.
Speaking on the occasion, Tahir Khursheed said that the prime focus of the government was to bring revolutionary changes in the agriculture sector and urged the scientists to focus on high quality seed varieties to boost output.
Appreciating the efforts of PARC scientists in the agricultural development, the secretary stressed the need for expanding such modern techniques in all important research and development departments of agriculture for enhancing the crop and livestock production.
He also took keen interest in PARC’s Thar Greening Model in Umerkot, Sindh and agricultural mechanisation technologies such as the olive oil extraction unit, solar dryer, mobile sugarcane crusher and groundnut digger.
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