ISLAMABAD (APP): Governor Punjab Engineer Muhammad Baligh Ur Rehman Sunday hailed the launching of the first-ever Rs30 million cash awards for breeders evolving the best quality high-yield seeds of rice, cotton and wheat.
Congratulating Shahzad Ali Malik Chairman Rice Research and Development Board, the Government of Punjab, he said it first time in the history of the private sector that encouraging bold initiative has been taken to fully recognise the contribution of ignored plant breeders in Pakistan.
He said the announcement of huge cash awards will definitely boost the morale of plant breeders across the country and help conduct results-oriented research leading to evolving the best quality seeds.
Governor stressed the need for immediate steps to increase yield per acre of field crops through the best varieties which is possible by rewarding breeders through a lucrative incentive package/scheme.
He highlighted that out of five major field crops rice, maize, cotton, wheat and sugar cane, only two crops, rice and maize performed well due to high-yield varieties with the main contribution of the private sector.
He said rice and Maize helped Pakistan achieve local demand, export earnings and import substitution.
Governor Baligh Ur Rehman said Pakistan is currently importing cotton, wheat, edible oil, pulses and other agro-commodities to the tune of approximately 14-15b$ annually.
The introduction of higher-yielding varieties in these crops through incentivizing breeders will result in import substitution and help in substantially reducing trade.
Shahzad Ali Malik thanked Governor for his appreciation and assured him of full support to the government for attaining food autarky.
He informed the Governor that on his special direction, Guard Agricultural Research and Services will also further extend the scope of research with the Department of Plant Breeding and Genetics Punjab University headed by leading scientist Prof Dr Muhammad Arshad Javed in collaboration with the Chinese company.