PARC working on new breeding techniques for boosting farm yields

The Pakistan Agricultural Research Council or PARC is working on new crop breeding technologies, including speed cloning, speed breeding, genomic selection, and genomic editing for boosting domestic agricultural output, achieving food safety and security, Chairman of PARC Dr Ghulam Muhammad Ali said on Tuesday.

Briefing the federal Secretary Ministry of National Food Security and Research Tahir Khursheed, who visited PARC, Dr Ali said that PARC’s National Institute for Genomics and Advanced Biotechnology (NIGAB) had also started producing virus-free potato tubers locally that would help in saving foreign exchange, besides increasing the farm yields.

He said that due to attacks of diseases on local potato varieties, the country had to import 8th generation seed potato from Holland, costing millions of dollars. Adding that the council was also involved in developing vaccines for disease prevention and epidemic control and also in selecting superior animal breeds using next-generation sequencing data for improved milk and meat productivity.

He pointed out that Green Super Rice, with a potential yield ranging between 80 and 120 maunds per acre and grain length of 8.6mm, could be a harbinger of economic prosperity, the PARC chairman said, adding that using the latest techniques of genome-based breeding, NIGAB scientists, in collaboration with China, have developed these GSR lines.

Besides, he said that banana varieties of PARC such as NIGAB-I and NIGAB-2 with higher productivity and shelf life had also been developed, adding that these varieties would help in enhancing the incomes of local farmers.

Meanwhile, Tahir Khursheed said that the government was primarily focusing to bring revolutionary changes in the agriculture sector and urged scientists to focus on high-quality seed varieties to boost agricultural output.

Appreciating PARC efforts in the country’s agricultural development, the secretary stressed the need for expanding such modern techniques in all farming research and development for enhancing crop and livestock production.

He also took a keen interest in PARC’s Thar Greening Model in Umerkot, Sindh, and agricultural mechanization technologies such as the olive oil extraction unit, solar dryer, mobile sugarcane crusher, and groundnut digger.


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