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ISLAMABAD: Pakistani scientists have made a breakthrough by developing the highest-yield garlic variety which is suitable for growing in all provinces of the country.

Keeping in view the present demand and yield gap, garlic variety development programme was launched under the vegetable crop research programme at the National Agricultural Re­­search Centre (NARC).

The new garlic variety, ‘NARC-G1’ is the highest garlic variety among all the existing garlic variants in the country. The quality was found to be superior with 26 tonnes yield per hectare.

Scientists of the country’s apex agricultural research institution said efforts were being made to make available garlic seeds to farmers across the country ahead of its growing season which starts in October.

It has higher nutrient contents and medicinal value with suitability to pharmaceutical, food processing industry and household level. Moreover, farmers’ income will increase due to low expenditure on plant protection and higher yield potential, ultimately reducing the import bill.

The newly-developed variety of garlic was presented at the variety evaluation committee of agricultural research scientists from all over the country at a meeting of Pakistan Agri­culture Research Council on Wednesday to determine the potential of this new variant.

Currently, Pakistan is spending precious foreign exchange on the import of garlic due to high demand and low yield potential of existing varieties. Latest estimates showed that the country is importing 34,375 tonnes of garlic from China, India and Chile worth Rs66 million.

The total indigenous production of garlic in the country stands at 70,925 tonnes from an area of 7,882 hectares with an average yield of 8.99 tonnes per hectare. Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa is the major garlic-producing province with 32,205 tonnes, followed by Punjab (24,143 tonnes), Balochistan (7,880 tonnes) and Sindh (6,557 tonnes).

Published in Dawn, July 12th, 2018