A recent visit to Pakistan by ICARDA’s Director General, Dr. Mahmoud Solh, provided an opportunity to discuss ongoing activities with key partners and outline the Center’s efforts to boost the productivity of smallholder farmers across the country’s dry areas. Emphasizing improved conservation and water and land management, ICARDA’s Pakistan Program develops, tests, and transfers new technology packages to farmers, supplementing these interventions with proven crop management techniques, sustainable seed systems, and efforts to improve small ruminant productivity.
In meetings with government officials – including H. E. Mr. Federal Minister of National Food Security and Research, Sikander Hayat Bosan, and Under-secretary and Chairman of the Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC), Dr. Iftikhar Ahmad – Dr. Solh briefed attendees on recent developments at ICARDA and initiated discussions about the forthcoming establishment of a Center of Excellence on dry area agricultural research and development, to be located in Baluchistan province.
Appreciative of the Center’s expertise, and acknowledging its global mandate for the improvement of food legumes, the Minister requested that ICARDA expand its research activities targeting pulse productivity in Pakistan, remarking that this was a vital means of securing the country’s food and nutritional security.
A subsequent meeting with officials at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), including Clay Hamilton, USDA’s Agriculture Chief in Pakistan, enabled participants to discuss the progress of collaborative projects and plan the development of a forthcoming initiative on improving soil fertility. Launched in early November and implemented in Punjab and Sindh provinces, the effort will demonstrate and test practices to improve and maintain soil health, and disseminate successes via information campaigns.
During the same meeting, a project aimed at rehabilitating watersheds and improving irrigation was singled out for particular praise - water availability is one of the most significant constraints facing Pakistan, and the country struggles to provide sufficient water for its agricultural, domestic, and industrial requirements.
For more information on ICARDA’s activities in Pakistan and across South Asia please visit:
Dr Solh (top-left) discusses ICARDA's activities in Pakistan with H. E. Mr. Sikander Hayat Bosan (Center), the Federal Minister of National Food Security and research.