Dozens of Pakistani scientists and agricultural experts participated in the first phase of the 2016 Traveling Wheat Seminar, funded by the U.S. government. The annual seminar brings together wheat scientists from all over Pakistan to observe and discuss wheat research at the Pakistan Agricultural Research Councils wheat research centers. Wheat scientists are able to share and discuss their work more effectively as they examine wheat fields, rather than when they are sitting in a formal meeting, said Dr. David Marshall, U.S. coordinator for the Wheat Production Enhancement Program. As a result of this seminar, scientists have obtained a better common understanding of the problems and successes of each research program. From March 8 to 18, scientists visited farmers fields, private seed companies, and research centers near Karachi, Hyderabad, Sukkar, Multan, and Faisalabad. Participants examined challenges faced by Pakistani wheat growers such as diseases, climate change, weeds, and crop management issues. The Pakistan Agricultural Research Council and International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) organized the seminar. CIMMYT Country Representative, Dr. Imtiaz Muhammad commented that wheat is important to Pakistans overall food security and noted that CIMMYT and the U.S. Department of Agriculture are committed, through the Wheat Production Enhancement Program, to advance wheat research in order to benefit Pakistani farmers. Scientists will gather for the second phase of the Traveling Wheat Seminar in early April.
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