The Agriculture Innovation Program helps USAID meets one of its goals in Pakistan of improving the economic lives of citizens by improving the business enabling environment and the economic performance of firms in the agricultural sector. The program enhances food security by improving the productivity of the agricultural sector through agricultural research and innovation.
The Project seeks to expand agricultural science and technology innovation to meet the food needs of Pakistan's rapidly growing population and to address recent agricultural threats such as crop diseases and soil salinity. This activity collaborates closely with the Pakistan Agricultural Research Council, the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIARs), and the University of California at Davis. The Program builds partnerships with public and private institutions for sustainable development and applies innovative agricultural technologies to stimulate growth of agriculture sector. The program has three primary components: an agricultural research component that focuses on raising yields in cereals, livestock, and horticulture; a competitive grants component to support agricultural researchers in Pakistan; and a component to train the next generation of researchers in the agricultural sciences at top U.S. land grant universities.
The main objectives of the project are to increase productivity and incomes in the agricultural sector through the dissemination of modern practices for cereals, annual and perennial horticulture, and livestock.
- Develops and introduce climate resilient, disease and stress tolerant varieties of wheat, rice, and maize.
- Improves practices in protected cultivation of vegetables and expand and improves production of mung beans (a type of lentil) as part of the ricewheat cropping system.
- Disseminates conservation agriculture techniques, such as zero tillage planting of wheat after rice, and bed and furrow planting of wheat.
RESULTS TO DATE
- Introduced new seed varieties for wheat that are resistant to wheat rust disease, rice varieties that are tolerant to heat and salinity stresses, and corn varieties that biofortified.
- Selected five Ph.D. and nine M.Sc. students who have begun their graduate studies in 2015 in the agricultural sciences at U.S. land grant universities, including the University of California at Davis, University of Minnesota, Texas A&M, Purdue University, Washington State University, and Mississippi State University.
- Provided multicrop bed planters to farmers in 26 districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab, making land preparation easier and cost effective and improving grain yields.