A unique consortium of global and Pakistan scientists has helped to drive the country’s recent growth in annual maize output to 6.3 million tons — nearly double the 2010 output — and energized the domestic production of affordable, quality seed of more nutritious and climate-resilient maize varieties.
A fall armyworm found on maize plants in Khamman district, Telangana state, India. Photo: ICAR-Indian Institute of Maize Research
The fall armyworm (FAW), Spodoptera frugiperda, a devastating insect-pest, has been identified for the first time on the Indian subcontinent. Native to the Americas, the pest is known to eat over 80 plant species, with a particular preference for maize, a main staple crop around the world. The fall armyworm was first officially reported in Nigeria in West Africa in 2016, and rapidly spread across 44 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Sightings of damage to maize crops in India due to fall armyworm mark the first report of the pest in Asia.
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.