Agricultural Innovation for Pakistan: New High-yielding Maize Varieties

Dr. Abdur Rahman Beshir, CIMMYT maize improvement and seed systems specialist, speaking at the introduction of new, high-yield maize varieties at NARC in Islamabad. Photo: Sana Jamal

Dr. Abdur Rahman Beshir, CIMMYT maize improvement and seed systems specialist, speaking at the introduction of new, high-yield maize varieties at NARC in Islamabad. Photo: Sana Jamal

Several new high-yield maize varieties have been introduced for commercial use in Pakistan this past week, lauded as the “first ever type of maize innovation in Pakistan,” according to the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) Maize Improvement and Seed System Specialist, Dr. Abdur Rahman Beshir. The varieties, which were developed by CIMMYT, can yield as much as 10 tons per hectare.

The new varieties were introduced to the public at a gathering of agriculture experts and farmers held at the National Agricultural Research Center (NARC) in Islamabad, organized by the Agricultural Innovation Program (AIP) for Pakistan, a joint initiative of CIMMYT, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC).

Ensuring that these new hybrid seeds are accessible to farmers at affordable prices is the next important step now that they have been introduced, according to Dr. Imtiaz Muhammad, Country Representative for CIMMYT. “If we cannot deliver the hybrid seeds to the local farmers, then the innovation is useless.” Working with national partners will be vital in efforts to make the seeds as widely available as possible.

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