ISLAMABAD - Dozens of Pakistani scientists and agricultural experts attended the first phase of 2016 Traveling Wheat Seminar on Friday, funded by the US government.

The annual seminar, organised by Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) and International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), brings together wheat scientists from all over Pakistan to observe and discuss wheat research at the (PARC) wheat research centers.

“Wheat scientists are able to share and discuss their work more effectively, as they examine wheat fields, rather than when they are sitting in a formal meeting,” said Coordinator for the Wheat Production Enhancement Programme Dr David Marshall. “As a result of this seminar, scientists have gained a better understanding of the problems and successes of each research programme,” he added.

From March 8 to 18, scientists visited the fields, private seed companies, and research centers near Karachi, Hyderabad, Sukkur, Multan, and Faisalabad. They examined challenges, faced by Pakistan’s wheat growers, such as diseases, climate change, weeds, and crop management issues.

CIMMYT Country Representative Dr Imtiaz Muhammad commented that wheat was important for Pakistan’s overall food security, and noted that CIMMYT and the US Department of Agriculture were committed, through the Wheat Production Enhancement Programme, to advance wheat research in order to benefit the Pakistani farmers.

Scientists will gather for the second phase of the Seminar in early April.