ISLAMABAD-A new high-yielding garlic variety has been developed by Pakistan Agriculture Research Council (PARC) with the production potential of 24 tonnes per hectare. Expressing his views, Dr Muhammad Azeem Khan, chairman PARC, said that currently, Pakistan is at 19th position with an annual production of 81,167 tonnes of garlic, which is very low as compared to top yielding countries.

“As per the FAO data, top garlic producing countries in the world include China (22,333,877 tonnes), India (1,721,000 tonnes), Bangladesh (461,970 tonnes) and Egypt (286,213 tonnes),” said Dr M Azeem Khan, chairman, PARC. Therefore the country has to import from China i.e. approximately 46139.8 tonnes (Fruit Vegetable and Condiments Statistics of Pakistan; 2017-18). Now, garlic import is immensely affected due to the outbreak of Covid-19. Chairman PARC also informed that to bring research based agricultural solutions along with revolutionized and modernized agriculture and to obtain high yielding varieties of commercially important crops in Pakistan, National Agricultural Research Centre, under the umbrella of Pakistan Agricultural Research Council, has established Research and Development programs.

Keeping in view the fact that the popular local garlic variety “Lehson Gulabi” is low in yield but highly acceptable in the market, however, not fulfilling the industrial demand of garlic in the country, he maintained. The Vegetable Crop Research Program (VCRP) of Horticulture Research Institute (HRI), NARC started garlic variety development activity in 2009-10 to achieve high yielding garlic variety for the country.

A spokesman of the PARC said that the leading scientist Humayoun Khan along with a team of co-breeders started working on the development of NARC-G1 with the active collaboration of PGRI, NARC and it got approved by VEC, PARC (2018) and vetted by Punjab and KP Seed Councils in June, 2020. It is the highest yielding variety (24 ton/ha) as compared to all other garlic cultivars grown in the country. Dr Khan further added that a spot examination meeting was arranged in June 2020, at NARC for further progress in the variety approval case from the provincial seed council.

This variety performs best in all provinces. The breeders are getting considerable rise in demand particularly from food processing and pharmaceutical industries. There is also a demand recorded from foreign countries like Belarus. Meanwhile up to 70 tonnes demand for garlic seed is coming from local farmers for seed multiplication.

The single bulb weight (185.43 grams) of NARC-G1 is much larger than local Lehson Gulabi which is only 35.45 grams, besides having qualities of good compactness with prolonged storability (8-10 months) highly useful among value addition products and easy to peel make NARC-G1 more profitable.