ISLAMABAD: At least twelve new hybrid rice varieties will be available to farmers for cultivation during the next Kharif crop season starting in July.
The new varieties were approved by the Variety Evaluation Committee of Pakistan Agriculture Council (Parc) in Islamabad on Wednesday after reviewing twenty-six proposals.
Research on these varieties was carried out at the rice research laboratory of National Agriculture Research Centre. A senior official of NARC told Dawn that following the approval by the committee, the new hybrids of rice can now be imported from China.
So far, 130 different varieties of rice have been developed of which at least twelve varieties are currently sown by farmers in rice growing areas of the country. Punjab is the largest in terms of the crop’s production, followed by Sindh and then the remaining parts.
In addition to the 12 types, an open pollinated variety of rice for commercial cultivation was also approved by the committee. While farmers can keep seeds of pollinated rice variety, the hybrid has to be changed after every crop.
Parc chairman briefed the committee about the upcoming projects on rice under the Prime Minister’s ‘National Agriculture Emergency Programme’. Presiding over the variety evaluation committee meeting, Member Plant Sciences Division of PARC, Dr Abdul Ghafoor emphasised the role of quality seed for productivity and profitability of farmers.
Representatives of seed companies appreciated the role of Parc for setting new benchmarks for testing of rice varieties in Pakistan.