Islamabad, Mary 17, 2017 — Agricultural experts from the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Research Service met in Islamabad this week to discuss the U.S. -Pakistan Cotton Productivity Enhancement Program (CPEP) with Pakistani government officials, public and private sector representatives and farmer organizations. The meetings focused on input from Pakistani representatives on how to build on the CPEP program’s successes.
The program is a partnership between the U.S. Agency for International Development, USDA, a consortium of Pakistani government and university research facilities, and the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA). The primary goal of the program is to study and combat Cotton Leaf Curl Virus (CLCuV). To date, CPEP has substantially decreased losses due to CLCuV through promoting best management practices among small farmers affected by the virus. Also, new sources of resistance to CLCuV have been identified and CLCuV resistant cotton lines are currently in advanced field trials at Pakistani government research institutes.
Dr. Jodi Scheffler, USDA’s CPEP Coordinator, noted that, “Our Pakistani partners are leaders in CLCuV research and are creating innovative new strategies to mitigate the effects of CLCuV, to benefit Pakistan’s cotton farmers.” She further stated, “Our joint development of virus resistant cotton lines will be of immense value, not only to Pakistan, but the world.”
Control of CLCuV is crucial in Pakistan, as it has caused major losses to Pakistan’s cotton industry, threatening both Pakistan’s economic stability and food security. The program receives essential support from the Pakistani government, university and institute members, the public and private sectors, and farmer organizations.
The scientists will also meet with the National Agricultural Research Center (NARC) Institute of Plant Genetics Resources (IPGR) and other partners from the Farmer Field Schools project to discuss future initiatives.