Two top scientists from the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Research Service (ARS) are in Islamabad this week to lead the annual review of the US -Pakistan Cotton Productivity Enhancement Programme (CPEP).

The dynamic programme is an international collaboration with a consortium of Pakistani government and university research facilities, USDA, and the International Center for Agricultural Research in Dryland Areas (ICARDA).  

The primary goal of the programme is to study the Cotton Leaf Curl Virus (CLCuV) and promote best management practices of the virus, as well as identify new sources of resistance.  The study of CLCuV is crucial in Pakistan, since it has caused major losses to Pakistan’s cotton industry, both threatening Pakistan’s economic stability and food security.

Dr. Brian Scheffler, USDA’s Lead Scientist for the programme, described some of the groundbreaking research that has been done under the programme: “This partnership has identified new sources of resistance in cultivated cotton, which will be critical to maintaining long-term virus resistance while ensuring high levels of production.  Under this programme, the scientific team has also developed the first laboratory diagnostic test that confirms the presence of CLCuV and distinguishes it from other viruses with similar symptoms.”