“Crop productivity must be increased through research on innovative crop management techniques, varietal development and dissemination of better techniques and seed to farming community through active involvement of public and private sector in Pakistan.” said Dr Yusuf Zafar T.I., Chairman Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) at inaugural session of atwo-day AIP-Agronomy & Wheat National meeting – 2018 held in Islamabad, Pakistan, on 04-05 September 2018. He appreciated CIMMYT and national partners’ efforts in development and dissemination of improved agronomic practices under AIP for Pakistan program. Dr Yusuf Zafar T.I. said that agriculture professionals must focus their energies on new areas like precision agriculture, decision support system, use of drones in crop sector, improving water productivity and mechanization for small and medium farmers.
The meeting was jointly organized by CIMMYT and PARC under USAID’s Agricultural Innovation Program (AIP) for Pakistan. National partners from all over Pakistan shared progress on AIP’s agronomy activities, and discussed issues and future activities. The inaugural session was attended by 70 agriculture professionals from various provincial and federal research institutes, agriculture extension, universities, private companies and international research centers, who are involved in agronomy & wheat research and dissemination of technologies and seed among the farming community.
Imtiaz Muhammad, CIMMYT Country Representative and AIP Project Leader, informed participants that 23 national public and private sector partners are collaborating on crop management and wheat seed under USAID funded AIP. CIMMYT is also collaborating with private sector and machinery manufactures are locally producing Zero till Happy Seeders and direct seeding of rice planters.
Imtiaz Hussain, Program Leader Wheat – NARC informed the participants that conservation agriculture techniques like zero tillage wheat and ridge planting of wheat are being disseminated in the country under AIP for Pakistan. CIMMYT has also collaborated with manufactures for local production of Zero-tillage Happy Seeder for wheat planting after combine harvested rice and Multicrop planter for DSR in rice-wheat area of Pakistan. Under AIP agronomy component, CIMMYT, in collaboration with national partners have reached to more than 25000 farmers through demonstration of zero tillage, ridge planting, DSR, better nutrient management, provision of planters, training of farmers and organizing farmer field days. These techniques are helping farmers in saving water, avoiding residue burning, reducing cost of production and improving profits.
The concluding session was held on September 05 and participants of the national meeting recommended that addition of straw spreader should be promoted with rice combine harvester that will help in smooth working of ZTHS in combine harvested fields. Zero till happy seeder and direct seeding of rice with DSR planter should be promoted through involvement of agricultural service providers in rice-wheat area. In Balochistan province, support to farmers and service providers could increase adoption of Zero tillage wheat planting after rice and LASER land leveling. AIP in collaboration with partners will continue its focus on dissemination of improved water saving and nutrient management techniques and capacity building of farmers, national staff and agricultural service providers in the project area. In concluding session, forum also recommended that AIP second phase may focus on Bio fortification, climate smart agriculture, decision support tools, gender involvement, knowledge delivery, appropriate mechanization, nutrient management, weed management and water productivity.