Agriculture Innovation Programme playing important role to strengthen research system, increase production
“The Agricultural Innovation Program (AIP) for Pakistan is playing an important role in strengthening agricultural research system in Pakistan through providing financial resources, HRD and new innovations. Some farmers are still growing local varieties of various crops which cause low productivity. PASSCO has been given the task of development of seed of improved varieties for availability of quality and improved varieties seed to our farming community,” said Federal Secretary Ministry of National Food Security and Research Seerat Asghar while presiding over a meeting for Establishment of Provincial Agricultural Research Boards in Balochistan, Khyber Paktunkhwa and Sindh Provinces at Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) Islamabad.
PARC Chairman Dr Iftikhar Ahmad said wheat productivity doubled in Pakistan whereas the production of pulses is low. There is need for investment in technology to increase production of pulses in the country. He said there is also need to modernize our agriculture on the pattern of advanced countries.
On this occasion, CIMMYT Country Representative-Pakistan Dr Muhammad Imtiaz gave a detailed overview of Agricultural Innovation Program (AIP) for Pakistan.
Dr Mubarik Ali, Senior Research Fellow (IFPRI-PSSP) also gave a presentation on Punjab Agricultural Research Board (PARB) which include structural and management weaknesses in agricultural research, PARB vision to enhance sustainable productivity, reduce poverty, ensure food security and promote competitiveness in the agricultural sector through output oriented agricultural research, existing structure of PARB Board and EC composition, operation, strategies, goals, achievements / major research outputs, etc.
Dr. Stephen Davies from IFPRI-PSSP, Dr. Jennifer (CIMMYT), Dr. Nazim Ali (USAID), Dr. Shahid Masood, Member (Plant Sciences) PARC / Focal Person (AIP), Dr. Shahid Rafique, Member (Animal Sciences), Dr. Umer Farooq, Member (Social Sciences) and other senior officers also shared their views and experience with the participants of the meeting.
The Agricultural Innovation Program (AIP) is a USAID funded initiative and managed by CIMMYT in partnership with PARC and other stakeholders. The goals of AIP are to increase crop productivity and production value of livestock, horticultural, and cereal crops, thus increasing income for Pakistan farmers.
This is multi-institute program and designed to attract highly skilled staff of national and international repute including the involvement of other international centers as primarly partners like ILRI, IRRI, AVRDC, and DC Davis-USA to support agricultural research community in Pakistan in achieving the goal of the program.
During conceptualization of AIP of Pakistan followed by inception workshop held in May 2013 in Islamabad all, NARS partners stressed for the establishment of Provincial Agricultural Research Boards in Balcohistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh on the lines of PARB.
PARC was entrusted the responsibility to create and establish provincial boards in these provinces and strengthening of PARB and manage province-inclusive Competitive Grants System (CGS).
Once the provincial AR4D boards are established and made function, each board will have its own Board of Directors and Executive Committee to run the affairs of board and implement the competitive grants by channelizing funds through boards to province. PARC provide leadership in the establishment boards. These boards will support the expansion of provincial linkages to greater national, regional and international communities through an overarching mechanism of coordination. The provincial boards will play a growing role in the administration of the competitive grants.