Protecting Pakistan’s Most Important Crop: USDA Leads Wheat Productivity Enhancement Program Annual Meeting

Islamabad, September 6, 2017 – Wheat, Pakistan’s most important crop, is in the spotlight at the National Agriculture Research Center, which is hosting a two-day Wheat Productivity Enhancement Program Meeting (WPEP) this week.

The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Dr. David Marshall gave opening remarks at today’s inaugural session.  Marshall, from USDA’s Plant Science Unit, is the WPEP Research Leader.

Wheat accounts for 60 percent of the daily caloric intake of the average Pakistani, and it’s grown on over 9 million hectares of land throughout the country.  WPEP’s goal is to protect and enhance wheat productivity, with particular attention to wheat rusts, which have caused hundreds of millions of dollars in crop losses during the past 50 years.

Because a wheat-rust epidemic would threaten Pakistan’s food security, USDA is supporting efforts to strengthen Pakistan’s wheat-rust surveillance efforts, enhance collaboration with international researchers, and improving breeding methods and testing. USDA is supporting Pakistani institutions to increase the availability of new varieties and to work toward a safe and secure food system in Pakistan.

WPEP is an international collaboration with a consortium of Pakistani government and university research facilities, USDA, the International Center for Maize and Wheat Improvement and the International Center for Agricultural Research in Dryland Areas.

September 6, 2017

Contact: U.S. Embassy Public Affairs Section (051-201-5427, 051-201-4423)

66/ 2017