Wheat worth Rs 611 billion harvested in 2011-12 By: Our Staff Reporter | September 13, 2012 | ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) Chairman Naveed Salimi has inaugurated two-day Annual Wheat Planning/W- PEP meeting here at PARC premises. The meeting was arranged by wheat programme of PARC in collaboration with ICARDA and CIMMYT from 12 to 13th September 2012. In this meeting Todd Drennan, Agri Counselor USDA, Dr. Shahid Masood (Member Plant Sciences PARC), Dr Muhammad Sharif (DG NARC), Dr Yaqoob Mujahid (National Coordinator Wheat NARC) and other eminent wheat experts shared their views and experience. Chairman PARC Naveed Salimi who presided over the annual wheat meeting said that wheat is over 35pc of our peoples daily diet, and is grown on most of our over 6 million farms. In 2011-12 Pakistan farms produced 23.3m tons of wheat. The total value of that harvest is over Rs611 billion or $6.4 billion; and 20pc of our national agricultural GDP is from wheat. Combining these figures illustrate the vital importance of wheat farming to the food security, income, and economic growth of Pakistan. He said that our future food security and economic growth depend on more science and more innovation coordination nationally and internationally. He said that the rust diseases of wheat are of special concern to this community and we are aware of the threat of wheat rusts, including stem rust Ug99, to the productivity of wheat in Pakistan. Wheat Productivity Enhancement Programme (WPEP), is supporting this meeting and our national efforts to protect and enhance the productivity of wheat through the application of science to ensure wheat rusts do not hurt our wheat and that our farm productivity increases. Wheat is the leading crop of the country occupying the largest area (8.7million hectares) under any single crop. Annual wheat planning meeting has been a regular feature and always helpful in discussing research findings and formulation future strategies for enhanced wheat production. The coordination mechanism like the annual wheat meetings has been a regular activity for a long time and with the launching of the WPEP (Wheat Productivity Enhancement Programme) of Pakistan. It will further enhance and strengthen the already existing linkages between the stake holders. WPEP and USDA funded project aims to enhance and protect the productivity of wheat in Pakistan.