US keen to promote agriculture in Pakistan: Ambassador Olson
United States’ ambassador Richard Olson reaffirmed the long-term US government’s support to farming communities in Pakistan.
“Since the 1950s, the United States has been working to support agriculture in Pakistan by introducing the orange and helping to double the country’ wheat production. Today, we continue our support because improving crop yields protecting food sources from disease and boosting milk production will increase incomes of the farmers which would ultimately strengthen Pakistan’s prosperity, US ambassador said addressing a gathering of government officials, researchers and farmers during his visit to the National Agriculture Research Center (NARC) here on Wednesday.
Ambassador Olson said that the US government is committed to help the small farmers of Pakistan through projects that enhance agricultural productivity.
The introduction of this wheat variety helps protect Pakistan against UG 99 a dangerous wheat disease in the region that poses a threat to country’ farming community, he claimed.
Olson added that US government has provided new harvesting machine to support the Wheat Productivity Enhancement Project and also is also providing specialized training opportunities to Pakistani wheat scientists to fight against wheat diseases.
While talking on the occasion, Dr. Muhammad Imtiaz, Country Liaison Officer for the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, noted that without disease-resistant varieties of wheat experts estimate that Pakistan’s annual wheat harvest could be reduced by 50 percent if when UG 99 arrives.
“Agriculture contributes 21 percent to the GDP of Pakistan and employs 45 percent of the labor force, making it one of the most significant economic drivers of Pakistan,” Dr. Imtiaz said.