KARACHI: The Provincial Seed Council has approved new high yield varieties of wheat, canola and sugarcane at a meeting held here recently.
These include a wheat variety with the yield up to 87 maunds per acre against the existing yield of 70-75 maunds.
The new variety, named Benazir, has been evolved by the Wheat Research Institute, Sakrand. Its salient features include short duration and higher yield which would substantially increase wheat output in the province.
The council meeting chaired by Secretary Agriculture Agha Jan Akhtar was attended by representatives from Pakistan Agriculture Research Council (PARC), Pakistan Agricultural Committee, Central Cotton Committee and private growers.
A spokesman of the Agriculture Department said that the new varieties were approved after several years of trials at research farms and growers’ fields to tally the yield results. Theses were also tested on soils in Punjab and Khyber Pukhtunkhwa by the national research bodies to verify the yields claimed by the concerned research organisation.
The new wheat variety will be cultivated in Sindh and other places from the next Kharif season once seeds were made available.
Another variety approved by the Council is Surhan - 2012 for canola which was evolved by the Nuclear Institute of Agriculture Research Tandojam. This is the first-ever variety exclusively evolved for canola to make it a regular sowing entity.
The Surhan-2012, which has a yield of 1,754kg per hectare, would go a long way in cutting country’s edible oil imports bill if cultivated on a large scale. It will replace varieties of edible oils, which are sown casually along with rice.
The council also approved a new sugarcane variety – Larkana -2004 with a high yield of 1600-2000 maunds per acre against the existing average yields of 1200-1400 maunds. The variety evolved by the Quaid-e-Awam Research Institute, Naudero, will be promoted in collaboration with sugar mills seeking varieties with higher yield and greater sucrose contents.
The new cane variety will replace three varieties banned by the government for its poor yield and lesser sucrose contents.
Meanwhile, the Sindh Chamber of Agriculture has contested the high yield claimed by the researchers for new wheat variety.
The chamber’s Secretary General Nabi Bakhsh Saito said that it would not be possible to achieve 87 maunds yield from the new wheat variety and the yield would not be more than 50 maunds per acre in average fields.