Plant Biotechnology

Pakistani economy is based on agriculture, which contributes 25% of its total GDP. About 61% of the total population lives in rural areas and is highly dependent on agriculture for its livelihood. Agriculture sector employs more number of human resources than any other sector in the country. Pakistan has made some significant progress in agriculture sector in terms of yield and production since its independence and exporting some good and commodities by competing with other countries and earning a handsome amount in terms of GDP. Still the average per hectare yield is lower than that of developed countries and the goal of self-sufficiency, in food for some commodities, is far from realization, forcing the government to spend huge sum of foreign exchange on the import of food stuff from abroad.

Biotic and abiotic stresses fortified by global climate shifts are the most important limiting factors in increasing the crop yield. Poor genetic material with inappropriate farming systems and a lack of government’s interest in agricultural research and development are further aggravating the problems. That need to be address in more comprehensive and applicable way.

The state of agriculture in Hazara division of the KPK is not much different from the rest of the country.  The diversity of the climate regimes that prevail in this region offers multiple cropping systems that include horticultural and agronomic crops as well as medicinal plants. Despite all this, the farming communities involved in this business are still not materializing their full potential and cannot break the vicious cycle of poverty and hunger due to the same reasons mentioned above.

Agriculture provides the raw material for industries as well. The dreams to moving from agriculture based economy to industry based economy will come true only if we focus to produce skilled manpower in agriculture sector as the developed countries like USA did in 20th century, who later contributed to bring revolutionary change.  Thereafter, a true transition to industrial revolution can only achieved by a significant progress in agriculture followed by industrial sector in this country.

Biotechnology has provided us the efficient and rapid tools to progress and play significant role in crop improvement, conservation and maintenance of agrobiodiversity and exploit the local flora for medicinal purposes. Therefore, it is the need of the time to work in the field of agricultural biotechnology for the betterment of the region as well as of the country.

This group aims to improve horticultural and agronomic crops and medicinal plants by applying biotechnological tools to meet the ever-increasing demand for food, fiber and medicine by insuring their sustainable production.

Focus Areas

  • Agronomic and horticultural crop improvement
  • Biofortification of crops/fruits
  • Exploitation of medicinal, food and aromatic Plants