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CIMMYT upgrades Pakistan’s national germplasm collection and distribution facility

As a step towards modernizing and strengthening Pakistan’s national coordinated breeding programs, CIMMYT upgraded the seed storage facility of the National Agricultural Research Center (NARC) to meet international standards. The state-of-the-art facility offers a number of services such as damage control of stored wheat including avoiding both quantitative and qualitative losses, maintaining a record of incoming and outgoing seed, and tracking it until it reaches its destination.

Funded by the Wheat Productivity Enhancement Program (WPEP), the germplasm collection and distribution facility was formally inaugurated by Shahid Masood, member of the plant science division, Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC), on 20 November 2015. CIMMYT Country Representative Imtiaz Muhammad, PARC Chairman Nadeem Amjad, NARC DG Muhammad Azeem Khan, and agricultural experts from national and international organizations graced the occasion with their presence.

Upon unveiling the foundation stone, Shahid spoke about the intention behind setting up the facility, which is to provide an international standard for maintaining the quality of wheat seed and seed of other crops and keep track of national and international germplasm.

Atiq Ur Rehman Rattu, National Wheat Coordinator, PARC, briefed the group on the system that will be used to stop seed mixing, fumigate, package the seed, and record services before distributing seed packets to collaborators across Pakistan.

“This establishment will substantially improve grain quality in Pakistan. It will connect the international seed sector with national partners to conduct trials after maintaining a record of the incoming material and trace it to the end delivery points,” said Imtiaz. The attendees acknowledged the efforts of the WPEP and especially of CIMMYT in enhancing Pakistan’s national breeding facilities. Azeem highlighted the importance of quality seed for increased productivity and said that the new facility will maintain and distribute pure, high-quality seed to national collaborators.