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Arid Zone Research Institute, BAHAWALPUR

Arid Zone Research Institute (AZRI), Bhawalpur aims at multidisciplinary approach with the following main objectives:


  • To evaluate present constraints to agricultural productivity in the desert where the potential for irrigation is either undeveloped or does not exist;

  • To establish a regional capability to trickle the problems of arid areas and develop suitable techniques for the best land use in the Cholistan desert.

  • To assess the social and economic acceptability of proposed technological innovations and develop suitable methods for the rapid and effective dissemination of new agricultural information; and

  • To ensure self-sustainability of biological systems and environmental protection of fragile arid ecosystems of the Cholistan desert.

  •  AZRI, Bhawalpur has been working for the last more than two decades with following mandate to achieve the mentioned objectives:


  • Introduction, selection, evolution, adaptation and production technology of the crops (cereals, pulses, oilseeds and fodder), keeping in view the burning issues of arid agriculture of the regions;

  • Introduction seed collection, evaluation, adaptation and promotion of range grasses (local and exotic) in the dry and hot conditions of Bhawalpur and Cholistan areas;

  • Introduction and development of production technology of arid horticultural plants (ber, falsa, date palm and fig) and distribution of the planting stock of improved varieties of these plants among the farmers of Bhawalpur and Cholistan areas;

  • Establishment of nursery of multipurpose trees and shrubs like Acacia, Salvdora, Prosopis, Albizzia, Sommondsia chinensis and Atriplex spp., and establishment of arboretum to demonstrate and motivate farmers to rise these on their own areas for fodder, timber and woodfuel needs; and

  • To assess the use of stressed and marginally productive land and water resources for the production of high quality fish protein for human consumption.

For achieving the above mentioned objectives and mandate, the institute primarily focuses on the following four research areas:

    i.    Range & Forestry Research Program
    ii.   Land & Water Resources Research Program
    iii.  Crop Sciences Research Program (It has three units viz, PBG Unit, Horticulture Unit & Plant Protection Units)
    iv.  Animal Sciences Research Program



Research achievements according to the above mentioned research areas are as follows:

Animal Sciences Research Program

With the addition of one SSO who has recently joined the institute, a new discipline of fisheries/aquaculture has been introduced in the institute and an innovated research activity has been initiated on Saline Aquaculture, i.e rising of fish and shellfish in saline waters. This will held find alternate source of animal protein to better feed the poor and malnourished communities of Cholistan desert. Furthermore, apragmatic approach of developing demostation farms at some strategic locations in the arid zone is expected to motivate the local farmers to make small investments for some what higher returns.


Crop Sciences Research Program

  1. Ten (10) wheat entries were evaluated. The entry Bloyka showed excellent performance and produced significantly maximum yield of 5,667 kg/ha as compared to an existing check variety Inqibal-91 that gave a yield of 4,422 kg/ha.

  2. Six advanced lines of chickpea were evaluated. Among these tow lines (AZ-2) and (AZ-6) with good yield potential are ready to go in the National Uniform Yield Trial;

  3. In case of inter cropping study, growing of 3 rows of wheat and 2 rows of canola rapeseed gave an additional income of Rs.7,500/- and Rs.10,500/ha over traditional farmer’s practice of growing pure crops of wheat and canola rapeseed, respectively;

  4. Three sowing dates 20th June, 10th July and 30th July were tested in mungbean for grain yield comparison. The crop sown on June 20 appeared the best sowing date which produced significantly higher grain yield than the other sowing dates

  5. AZRI has pooled almost nine improved varieties of grafted ber, viz Soofen, Dehli While, Aloo bukhara, Shereen Ajooba, Kali das, Karela and Umeri special. The institute has provided almost fifteen thousand scions of above-mentioned varieties to NADRI Project and Agriculture Extension Department, AJK for budding and grafting in the respective areas. Ber is a potential fruit plant which can return an income of approximately Rs.100,000/- per acre in addition to other crops which are inter-cultured in the same unit of land;

  6. Four top quality date palm varieties, namely, Dhaki, Basra, Zaidi from D.I.Khan, and Aseel from Khairpur (Sindh) have been introduced at AZRI Farm, Bahawalpur to get true to type suckers for further multiplication in the area.

Land and Water Resources Research Program

  1. Four varieties of guar were evaluated at different irrigation levels, including control. Application of two-irrigation appeared the best for cvs 2/1 and BR-95 followed by one irrigation as compared to control for obtaining maximum grain yield;  

  2. Effect of first irrigation at different intervals was studied on wheat. Irrigation was provided after 10,20,30,40, and 50 days interval. The mean grain yield ranged from 2,576 to 3,356 kg/ha. The irrigation interval of 30 and 40 days gave significantly highest yield of 3,356 kg/ha and 3,210 kg/ha, respectively.  

  3. Yield of wheat was tested under different tillage practices of disc harrow, cultivator, rotavator, and zero tillage. The mean grain yield ranged from 2,733 to 5,152 kg/ha. The crop sown with disc harrow gave the highest yield compared to the other tillage practices;  

  4. Growth of jojoba was tested under different irrigation methods. The irrigation methods included pitcher irrigation, PVC pipe, plastic bag, pits, furrows and drip irrigation. Maximum plant height (96cm) and crown diameter (107 cm) were obtained in pitcher irrigation technique followed by PVC pipe irrigation technique after the two years of planting time;  

  5. Maximum plant height and crown diameter were achieved in jojoba with the application of urea fertilizer @ 300 kg/acre followed by 200 and 100 kg/ha.

Range and Forestry Research Program  

  1. Germplasm collection and preservation of high yielding grasses and multipurpose trees/shrubs are underway at both the research farms at AZRI far, Bahawalpur and AZRI farm Cholistan. Exotic and local Acacia like Acadia ampliceps, A Victoria, A.stynophulla, A. holosoreceae (Australian Kikars), A. farneclana (Khushbudar Kidar), A. nilotica ss. Cupressiformis (Kabli Kikar) have shown good potential in desert areas of Cholistan;

  2. Establishment of grasses on sand dunes under desert conditions in Cholistan has successfully been demonstrated. Following have shown good yield potential (0.4-0.6 t/ha) Lasiurus sindicus (Gorkha) Cenchrus ciliaris (US Buffel) Cenchrus ciliaris (Cv. Bileola) Pancicum antidotale;   

  3. A number of economically important and medicinal plants as reported by local herders (ethnobotany) of Cholistan desert are being identified by this institute with the collaboration of Islamia University, Bahawalpur. Most important of these are; Capparis deciduas (Karir), Tamarix aphyla (Ukan), Calligonum polygonoides (Phog), Salvadora oleoides(Peelu), Anticaris linearis, Citrulus colocythis, Clume brackicarpa etc.

  4. Almost 25,000 seedlings of Acacia ampliceps (Austaalian Kikar) and A nilotica, ss. Cupressiformis (Kabli kikar), Salvadora oleoidus (Peelu), Prosopis cineraria (Jand) and Simmondsia chinensis (Jojoba), have been supplied to Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR), Pakistan Army, Desert Rangers, school/colleges and farmers of Bahawalpur division;

  5. Hedgerow inter-cropping using Sesbania sesban (Janter) and Leucaeana leucocephala (lpilipil) trees species in combination with maize (Kharif) and wheat (Rabi) crops not only enhanced crop and fodder production but also enhanced soil fertility, reduced soil erosion, and provided wood fuel for domestic use from the same unit of land;

  6. The best-suited grass for irrigated areas Pennisetum perpurum cv. Mott gave fresh biomass of 78 tones/ha. Over 5000 cuttings/stubbles have been distributed among the farmers of the area.


AZRI, Bahawalpur will continue its research efforts in the following fields in future provided adequate manpower and financial resources are made available:

  1. Introduction and evaluation of suitable high yielding drought and disease resistant varieties of cereal, pulses, range grasses, arid horticulture fruits, and fodder trees against biotic and abiotic stresses to improve quality of farmers life by strengthening their farm income;

  2. Range Inventory and surveys for assessing health of range resources of Cholistan area. Grazing behavior of different livestock types during different seasons of the year will be studied for managing the livestock properly;  

  3. Use of stressed, non-productive, and marginally productive land and water resources for the production of high quality fist protein for human consumption;  

  4. Development of appropriate dry forestation techniques for planting of trees and shrubs for fodder, wood fuel, and shade needs;  

  5. Agro-forestry research in dry areas, especially developing fodder reserves and silvo-pastures in desert areas;  

  6. Training to the farmers in raising arid horticultural plants, promotion of pulses, oilseed and fodder crops;  

  7. Training to the local people of the area, regarding kitchen gardening, food processing, and cottage industry suited to the arid and hot climatic conditions of Bahawalpur region.  





Name of Employee

Contact No.




Malik Muhammad Yousaf


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Principal Scientific Officer                  


Ghulam Shabbir Bhoio




Senior Scientific Officer                  

Mumtaz Hussain   (FM)


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Muhammad  Jahangir Shah



 Bashir Ahmad                            




DD (F &A)                   

M. Tariq Ramzan





Fayyaz Akhtar






Rashid Hayat



Muhammad Abdullah




Resource Person

Malik Muhammad Yousaf

 PSO/ Director

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Cell: 0300-6827919, Office: 0622-876833


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