Biotech Updates

Floods Wash Away Pakistan's Crop Research Efforts

October 15, 2010

The recent floods in Pakistan have caused extensive damage to the country's crop research. According to Pakistan's Ministry for Food and Agriculture and Livestock, the floods have destroyed 4.25 million acres of crops, which amounts to approximately U.S.$5 billion. This includes major crops such as wheat, cotton, rice, millet, and sugar cane, as well as emerging seed varieties of other important staple crops. The flood, which is expected to last longer, will also alter the ecology of the area, meaning the results of previous crop research will be useless.

"The recent floods in Pakistan have changed the agriculture research scenario altogether," said Muneer Goraya, scientist at the Pakistan Agriculture Research Council. "Our previous data has been rendered useless as the post-flood scenario has changed cropping systems, soil characteristics, the degree of acidity of different substances, and underground water depth."

The country's Cereal Crops Research Institute (CCRI), in the country's Nowshera District, has "turned into ruins", said CCRI director Atta-ud-Deen. Prior to the flood, the breeders of the research council were engaged in developing new high-yielding wheat with insect resistance, and wheat for various agro-ecological zones to meet the food demand of the increasing population in this food-deficient province.