ISLAMABAD : United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission Director John Groarke gave new varieties of maize seed to Pakistani research organisations and private-sector seed companies here on Wednesday at the National Agricultural Research Center.

The new varieties of maize were identified and provided under USAID’s Agriculture Innovation Programme (AIP), in coordination with the Pakistan Agricultural Research Council, in an effort to jumpstart the production of quality hybrid maize seed in Pakistan.

“America and Pakistan share the goals of improving the livelihoods of farmers across Pakistan, and increasing access of millions of Pakistanis to the nutritious food,” Groarke said, adding, “When America and Pakistan work together, we achieve growth and prosperity, in Pakistan’s agricultural sector and beyond.”

Muhammad Sadiq Tahir, a farmer from Rawalakot, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, commented, “These seeds will improve the quality of my harvest for years to come. I am grateful to the American people for their support to Pakistan’s agricultural development.”

USAID’s AIP is a 4-year, $30 million initiative, designed to increase productivity and incomes in the agricultural sector, through the promotion and dissemination of modern production practices for wheat, maize, rice, livestock, fruits, and vegetables.

The varieties of maize distributed today are bred to resist drought and heat stresses, and have enhanced nutritional quality. They also have increased resistance to insect attacks and low soil nitrogen.