Islamabad: (Parliament Times) The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) awarded 42 Research grants to Pakistani researchers and scientists to improve the productivity and income of small farmers. This event was organized by the USAID- funded Agricultural Innovation Program (AIP) and the Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) and was held at NARC Auditorium Islamabad. Key representatives from the Agricultural Sector including public and private sector organizations attended the event.
Dr. Yusuf Zafar (T.I) Chairman PARC highlighted the Agricultural Innovation Program’s (AIP) aim to improve farming practices and livelihoods in farming communities especially for smallholders across Pakistan. Dr. Yusuf Zafar further added that the goal of AIP is to increase crop productivity and production value of livestock, horticultural, and cereal crops; thus increasing income for Pakistan farmers. Overall, the AIP aims to have measurable impact on agricultural growth, food security for the poor, component of climate change resilience and adaptation in Pakistan’s agricultural sector. Moreover, he said that Funds for agriculture provided by USAID have helped farmers to adopt new techniques to enhance crop yields which is vital for sustained economic growth.
Speaking to the participants, USAID Mission Director Jerry Bisson said that today’s event exemplifies how the Government of Pakistan and the U.S Government are working together to implement the shared vision of supporting economic growth and development in Pakistan through research and innovations.
He also said that funded by USAID and led by CIMMYT, AIP has helped boost agricultural productivity by bringing new technologies to the sector while of sustainable practices which has helped improved Pakistan’s overall economy as the Agriculture is the largest sector of Pakistan’s economy, supporting half of the country’s labor force.
Dr. Imtiaz Muhamad, CIMMYT-CR in Pakistan and AIP project leader, briefed to the participants about the collaboration between USAID and CIMMYT along with NARC and other partners. He highlighted key AIP successes, such as the introduction of new planting machineries and drip irrigation systems. He more added that AIP works to increase productivity and improves the livelihood of poor farmers through the promotion and disseminatin of modern techniques in agriculture sector which includes (Wheat, Miaze and Rice), Livestock fruits and Vegetables.
At the end of the ceremony, Dr. Muhammad Azeem Khan DG NARC paid vote of thanks to the participants of the event and said that AIP is focusing on enhancing the capacity of agricultural scientists, researchers, farmers and women in agri. Sector through short term and long term trainings in Master’s and Doctoral Degree programs at U.S land-grant Universities.