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New technology stressed to boost agriculture   

LAHORE, Monday, February 27, 2012: PAKISTAN is blessed with plenty of natural resources that can be fully exploited by developing new technologies and adopting them on a large scale otherwise the country will lag behind in the race of economic development.

This was said by Dr Mubarik Ali, chief executive, Punjab Agricultural Research Board (PARB) while inaugurating the Farmers’ Field Day in relation to PARB’s project “Evaluation of phosphoric acid as an alternative to commercial phosphate fertilisers and enhancing its efficiency for higher crop productivity.”

He emphasised that the dream of economic development in Pakistan could only come true through adoption of innovative technologies. He apprised the audience that PARB was presently funding 53 research projects in which the scientists were working to find tangible solutions to the problems being faced by agriculture sector of Pakistan.

He said that according to the objectives set under these projects, it would be possible to achieve good yields of crops even with low inputs and under stress conditions.
 
 

Dr Mubarik stressed upon the scientists particularly the young researchers to utilise their laboratories with devotion to develop new technologies for the development of agriculture sector so that the farmers could adopt them for making the country prosperous.

He appreciated the participation of private sector in the production of phosphoric acid on commercial scale.

“This will help to expand the technology envisaged at later stages of the ongoing PARB funded project at NIAB” he added. Dr Mubarik Ali also visited the experimental field and appreciated the work progress based on better performance of phosphoric acid as phosphorus source.

On the occasion, Dr M Akhtar, project manager and Dr Javed Akhtar, NIAB director, told the participants about the present price hike in phosphorus fertilizers that had resulted in their low applications and thus drastic reduction in crop yields. This is need of the hour to find phosphorus fertilisers which are cheaper and efficient than the commercial fertilizers.

The speakers said NIAB scientists were presently working on finding new cheaper phosphorus fertilizers and appropriate methods of their application. They said it had been observed that phosphoric acid was a better alternative to the commercial phosphorus fertilisers.

In view of the encouraging results of the previous experiments conducted at NIAB, PARB has funded a project to evaluate phosphoric acid thoroughly for the production of wheat, rice and maize, they said.

They said that for improving efficiency of phosphoric acid by placement (two inches below seed), special seed sowing drills-cum-liquid fertiliser applicators for wheat and maize had been developed by the Agricultural Mechanization Research Institute (AMRI), Faisalabad and were being tested in the field.

Farmers from districts of Faisalabad and Toba Tek Singh and delegates from private sector and NIAB scientists participated in the activity. The farmers, whose lands for wheat experiments were underway using phosphoric acid, gave their comments on better performance of the acid in comparison to other commercial phosphate fertilisers.

There is a long list of factors for this low productivity, but the focus here is on the research wing. The country will have to change its research patterns. It has to catch up with the new horizons and methodologies of research going worldwide. I would like to correlate the rice research in Pakistan with C4 rice research that is an emerging integrated type of research funded by Bill & Mellinda Gates foundation, simultaneously going in different parts of world and headed by one centre.

Pakistan, having the best Basmati rice should be a part of this global research, sharing the latest views and writings, huge funding from the project, active utilisation of scientific potential, technical staff opportunities etc. If the world will succeeds in creating a C4 rice strain, Pakistan will be benefit accordingly.

The writer is PhD research scholar at International Rice Research Institute, Los


Courtesy: The DAWN
 

 
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