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10 new maize varieties introduced

By Our Reporter 2020-02-11
ISLAMABAD: Ten new maize varieties developed by the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT) have been released for commercial cultivation in the country.

The Maize and Millets Research Institute (MMRI) in Yousaf wala, being one of the leading and the oldest maize research institutes in Pakistan, released four open-pollinated varieties sourced from CIMMYT. The new varieties Gohar-19, CIMMYTPAK, Sahiwal Gold and Pop-1are the newest additions to the country`s maize variety list.

All these varieties are short-duration and can be harvested quickly to rotate land for the next crop.

They can also be grown in the main and off season, which makes them suitable for many different cropping systems, CIMMYT announced.

The Agricultural Research Institute (ARI) in Quetta received approval for six of CIMMYT`s white kernel open-pollinated varieties from the Seed Council of Balochistan, a government body responsible for variety registration in the province.

The varieties include Meraj-2019, Mahzaib-2019, Noor-2019, Paghunda-2019, Silver-2019 and Sar Subz2019. They are early-maturing with high yielding potential and drought tolerance. Drought stress is a major challenge for farmers in the Balochistan province, which covers almost half of the country`s territory.

Maize is Pakistan`s third most important cereal following wheat and rice, encompassing an area of 1.3 million hectares. Despite its growing demand, maize production in Pakistan faces various challenges such as a lack of diverse genotypes suitable for various uses and ecologies, a weak seed delivery system unable to reach marginal f armers, high retail price of seeds and unpredictable weather conditions due to climate changes.