Research Crucial for New Crop Varieties

Research Crucial for New Crop VarietiesResearch Crucial for New Crop Varieties

The role of private sector and agricultural universities in introducing new varieties of plants and crops in farming was underscored at the ‘Introducing New Plants and Crops’ festival, hosted by Iran Seed and Plant Improvement Institute, in Karaj city in Alborz Province recently.

Private sector as well as universities should introduce and incorporate new cropping technologies in domestic agriculture, said Eskandar Zand, deputy minister of Agriculture Jihad Ministry and head of the Agriculture, Research, Education and Extension Organization (AREEO).

“There are 52 types of wheat varieties of which only 10-15 are cultivated in the country,” he said, stressing the importance of crop diversification in the context of climate change and weather extremities, drought, depleting water resources, as well as increasing productivity.

“Full potential of private sector and universities should be exploited to achieve significant and sustainable increase in agricultural production,” he said, reports IRNA.

The opening of an agricultural museum on the history of research activities on crop varieties as well as strengthening Iran’s share in the global agricultural sector is on the agenda, he noted.

Efforts should be channelized to improve and modify crops, to not only add value to agricultural products but also boost the domestic market. Promoting local crops rather than depending on imports will be beneficial to agricultural production, food security and in particular, income of farmers.

Zand said research and innovation should be undertaken to increase agricultural productivity and contribute to economic development and growth.

There are research organizations affiliated to the AREEO, some dating back 100 years ago, that are working on improving crop varieties.

They benefit the agriculture sector every year. However, poor investment in research and development, “less than 0.5% of the total GDP, has been allocated for research,” he said.

The festival is a good opportunity “to draw attention to farm activities and sustainable agricultural production.”