US Research Geneticist, Dr Jodi Scheffler said on Tuesday that Pakistani scientists with the help of United States have identified two genes that offer resistance against the cotton leaf curl virus (CLCV) and were working with advance material but still require three years for developing varieties for farmers’ fields.
Briefing a group of journalists on Tuesday at the US Embassy, Jodi said Pakistani scientists have done a wonderful job by identifying two genes from 5,000 germplasm donated to Pakistan by US during the 2011 to 2016 period. Pakistan has excellent higher education and Pakistani scientist did a good work. Pakistani scientists were also assisted by Brazil as they were also worried about the CLCV spread.
Under the Kerry Logar Bill, the Cotton Productivity Enhancement Program (CPEP), a 5-year $ 4.5 million program was started by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to mitigate the effects of CLCV and improve food security in Pakistan. To implement CPEP, USDA has partnered with thirteen Pakistani research groups from some of the top research institutes coordinated by the Pakistani Regional Office of the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA).
ICARDA’s Country Manager, Abdul Majeed said that they have developed an inter-cropping system that allows cotton to be planted early by sowing directly it into standing wheat. This allows the cotton to be more mature and able to better withstand CLCV when the disease is at its highest level.
CPEP allows U.S. researchers to benefit from the expertise of Pakistani scientists to develop cotton with resistance to CLCV for U.S. farmers before it becomes a problem in the U.S.
The CPEP project has generated interest globally and the research from CPEP was highlighted with a special session at the 2014 International Cotton Genome Initiative (ICGI) in China and the 2016 World Cotton Research Conference 6 (WCRC-6) in Brazil.
In 2016, the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Thomas Vilsack recognised the success of USDA collaborative programs with Pakistan by awarding the USDA Pakistan team employees with the prestigious USDA Abraham Lincoln Honor Award.
Source: Pakistan Today
Byline: Staff Report
December 13, 2016