Three scientists from Pakistan have just concluded a two-week visit to CIMMYT that included a stopover in Obregón during the harvest. The visitors were Nafees Sadiq Kisana, National Coordinator for Wheat, Barley and Triticale, Mukhtar Alam, International Cooperation Office Ministry of Agriculture, and Liaquat Ali Hashmi, International Liaison & Training Officer with the Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC).
For Kisana it was a homecoming. In 1983 he was a Wheat Program trainee with CIMMYT for eight months. “It was interesting to see how much the work at Obregón has developed in that time,” he says. For Mukhtar Alam, the visit to Mexico and CIMMYT was a first, though he says CIMMYT was not a new name for him. “I heard about CIMMYT from the time I was a student,” he says. “But coming here I found CIMMYT friendlier, more open and more focused than I had expected.”
As a result of this visit, and a visit to CIMMYT last year of the PARC chairman, Pakistan will again start sending visiting scientists to CIMMYT. There has been no coordinated program for almost a decade, but starting later this year the first of up to 30 mid-career Pakistani agricultural scientists will spend time at CIMMYT. “It will be useful for our scientists, who are well-qualified to give focus to their work and exposure to an international organization,” says Ali Hashmi.
The program is being funded by the government of Pakistan in conjunction with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).