Decades Into Playing The Role Of A Staple Crop, Wheat Yields About 26 Million Tons From Cultivating 20 Million Acres Of Land.

Decades Into Playing The Role Of A Staple Crop, Wheat Yields About 26 Million Tons From Cultivating 20 Million Acres Of Land. Undoubtedly, wheat crop has had the edge of being self-sufficient in Pakistan, owing to the historic Green Revolution emerged by the Wheat Research Institute of AARI, Faisalabad. But being self-sufficient does not pronounce wheat to reach its peak in terms of research, as research is partial without considering the aspect of quality and nutrition. Pakistan, unfortunately, is one of those developing countries where malnutrition is a major setback.

About half of the population is deficient in Zn and other essential nutrients. On the onset of this scenario, to provide the farmers of the country with high yielding and nutrient dense bio fortified cultivars, the Wheat Research Institute, Faisalabad has developed Akbar-2019, which encapsulates the above-mentioned features. Wheat Research Institute, Faisalabad as always has taken a step ahead in organizing farmer field day that took place at research area of the Institute for the dissemination of bio-fortified cultivars under Harvest Plus and Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) for Pakistan.

Two major events were covered under one umbrella, which is product launch of Akbar -19 as a bio fortified new variety and secondly farmers visit to the high Zinc wheat cultivars fields of Akbar-19 and Zincol-16. Dignitaries Dr. Yaqoob Mujahid (Country Head Harvest Plus), Dr. Asif Ali (Vice Chancellor Muhammad Nawaz Shareef University of Agriculture, Multan) ,Dr. Ghulam M. Ali (Member crops PARC), Dr. Najeeb Ullah (Chief Scientist, Vegetable Research Institute, Faisalabad), Dr. Saeed Qaiser Saeed (Project Manager CBC, GAIN), Dr. Makhdoom Hussain (Ex Director, Wheat), Dr. T.P. Tiwari ( Country Representative CIMMYT, Pakistan), Ms. Noreen Naseem (Progressive Farmer) and Dr. Attiq-ur-Rehman Rattu (Wheat Coordinator) graced the event with their presence.

Farmers from all over Punjab were onboard and they actively participated. They were provided with information in form of informative lectures, demoes in the field and brochures. Experts from not only Wheat Research Institute, Faisalabad but also from all over Pakistan were partaking via the travelling wheat seminar for observing the wheat crop condition in terms of diseases and other biotic and abiotic stresses. And they were of great help in addressing the queries by farmers. Words of wisdom were shared by all the worthies.

Chief guest Dr. Asif Ali (VC, MNSUA, Multan) emphasized on the importance of durum wheat for pasta production and also valued the leading role of Wheat Research Institute, Faisalabad in terms of green revolution following the legacy to date with prime importance given to nutrition enhancement. Dr. Makhdoom Hussain (Ex. Director Wheat) highlighted the importance of Zinc for human health and immunity and emphasized on enhancement of zinc in wheat grain through genetic approaches.

Ms. Noreen Naseem (progressive farmer) on the behalf of farmer community endorsed the importance of wheat as staple food and discussed problem faced by farmer and advised probable solutions on Govt. level. Mr. Azam Cheema as the representative of seed association encouraged the farmer to adopt better agronomic practices to increase per acre yield. Representatives from seed companies and farmers demanded to increase the support price in Punjab Province also.

Dr. Javed Ahmad (Director Wheat) discussed the production technology of wheat and encouraged farmers to cultivate new approved varieties like Akbar-2019. He also appreciated his team for their hard work and devotion and achieving successes like Akbar-19, which was named after an eminent Scientist Dr. Rao Akbar (Late) of Wheat Research Institute, Faisalabad. Events like these should be brought into practice for the awareness and upliftment of farmers.