ISLAMABAD-The Ministry of National Food Security and Research has produced over 120 tonnes high yielding seed of different wheat varieties in order to enhance per-acre crop output in the country. 

The high yielding seed varieties were developed under Crop Enhancement Program, which was a main component of Prime Minister Agriculture Emergency Program initiated by the incumbent government of Pakistan Tahreek Insaf. 

The aim of the project was to enhance per-acre output of all major crops including wheat, rice, cotton and sugarcane, said Spokesman of the Ministry of National Food Security and Research, Dr Javed Hammayun. 

Talking to APP here, he said that development of these high yielding wheat seed varieties would help in achieving sustainable growth of staple food crop and to attain food safety and security in the country. 

He said that during the year 2019-20, targeted cross combinations for different traits like diseases resistance, high yield and for other traits of economic importance have been harvested. 

The head rows and progeny blocks of current varieties of National Agricultural Research Centre had been selected for breeder nucleus seed (BNS) and pre-basic seed production, he added. 

He further informed that on farm demonstrations; improved variety, production technology, bed or ridge planting, zero tillage and cropping system were laid out at 125 locations in Potohar areas. 

Meanwhile, wheat coordination acquire international wheat germ plasm from CIMMYT and distributed to the National Agriculture Research System partners to use in breeding program, he said adding that during this season 1600 new germ plasm had been distributed to the NARS system. Dr Javed further said under the initiative about 432,500 certified seed bags on 50 percent subsidy were provided to wheat growers in Punjab, adding that 5 bags per farmer provided to achieve high rate of return. 

In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa about 4,312 tonnes of seed distributed among the growers during the period under review, he said adding that 3,252 bags of subsidised fertilizers including potash and phosphorus distributed. In Azad Kashmir seed production blocks were established over 1,500 acres and seed production on farm 25 acres, he added.

Dr Hammayun further informed that Ministry of National Food Security and Research had transferred an amount of Rs 5,369.53 million to provinces and regions during the fiscal year 2019-20 under Prime Minister National Agricultural Emergency Program for development of agriculture and livestock sectors in the country. 

Besides, in wake of COVID-19 Pandemic, the government had also announced fiscal relief package of over Rs50 billion for farmers in order to provide them agriculture inputs on subsidized rate, he added. 

Javed Hammayun informed that the government had approved an amount of Rs6.861 billion under Agriculture Fiscal Package in order to provide financial relief in terms of mark up subsidy on bank’s loans to the most deserving sub segment of farming community. 

An amount of Rs1.5 billion Sales Tax subsidy on locally manufactured tractors was also approved in order to promote mechanization in agriculture sector to enhance per-acre crop output in the country, he remarked.