STAFF REPORT LHR: Agriculture Secretary Azmat Ali Ranjah has underlined for agricultural scientists to focus on demand-driven research to ensure food security of burgeoning population of the country.

He said this while chairing a meeting to review research activities at Rice Research Institute here last week.

During the briefing, the agriculture secretary was informed that out of 483 million tons of world rice production, 6.16 million tons was being produced in Pakistan and 3.75 million tons exported annually.

Highlighting the research impact of the institute, it was apprised that an increase of 530 per cent in area, 1,195 per cent in production whereas 120 per cent increase in yield per acre of rice has been achieved since 1947-48. The agriculture secretary was told that three new rice varieties PS-2, PK-386 and KSK-434 developed by Rice Research Institute were in the process of approval by Punjab Seed Council.

It was further told that in Punjab an area of 4.198 million acres was brought under rice cultivation and production of 3.460 million tonnes was achieved during 2012-13. Rice Research Institute director told that 19 varieties of rice have been developed and released by the institute, out of which nine varieties were being cultivated in Punjab at present.

He told that Rice Research Institute has developed direct rice seeding technology to get recommended population of 80,000 plants per acre and has resulted increase of six to eight maund per acre in production.

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