Pollination of maize. Photo courtesy of aip.cimmyt.org.
United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission Director John Groarke presented new varieties of maize seed to Pakistani research organizations and private-sector seed companies on 17 February at the National Agricultural Research Center in Islamabad, according to a U.S. embassy press release.
These varieties were developed by the Agricultural Innovation Program (AIP), a joint effort led by CIMMYT and supported by USAID, to jump-start the production of quality hybrid maize seed in Pakistan. The varieties distributed are resistant to drought and heat, have enhanced nutritional quality and increased tolerance to insect attacks and low soil nitrogen.
AIP for Pakistan is working to sustainably increase agricultural productivity and incomes in the agricultural sector through the promotion and dissemination of modern technologies/practices in the livestock, horticulture (fruits and vegetables) and cereals (wheat, maize and rice) sector. The $30 million initiative also collaborates with the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), the World Vegetable Center (AVRDC), the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), the University of California – Davis and the Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC).