In a statement International Center for Agriculture Research in the Dry Areas ICARDA and the Agriculture Research Institute of Afghanistan ARIA, have released three new drought-resistant wheat varieties in Afghanistan, to support overcome the increasing menace of recurring droughts in the country and “help get the agricultural sector back on its feet”.

These new varieties are named Mirdad-19, Sharq 19, and Jawahi-19, varieties were developed and tested by ICARDA’ and ARIA’s intensive research program under the CLAP project of the Ministry of Agriculture in Afghanistan.

The project is funded by IFAD, which are producing optimum yields in water-scarce environments, these wheat are resistant to yellow rust disease that causes yield loss, and showed excellent results under supplementary conditions “2-3 irrigations”, the statement read.

According to the statement, ICARDA a part of the global agricultural innovation network CGIAR, researches and releases adapted crops that grow under stress conditions at high heat levels, regular droughts, water scarcity and is a game-changer in drought struck countries like Afghanistan.

“The new wheat varieties can potentially increase the production of wheat in water-scarce regions in the country by 17-18%, saving money that could be used for fungicides and other inputs, bolstering the wheat self-sufficiency and agriculture food-systems of Afghanistan, and strengthening food security and resilience of struggling dryland rural communities”, ICARDA stated.

ICARDA conducted 314 research trials consisting of 8,997 genotypes in 18 agriculture stations across Afghanistan, these trials identified promising conditions for wheat, chickpea, mungbean, potato, tomato, and alfalfa.

Many regions in Afghanistan during hot summer, cold winter, and minimal rainfall suffer continental climate change, and droughts become recurrent.

The statement indicates, 30 wheat varieties are registered in the country, as farming is exposed to water scarcity, these wheat are damaged due to drought seasons.

These new types of wheat will perform well under rainfed, drier, drought-affected areas, the statement predicts if farmers cultivate 30% of both rainfed and irrigated plots with such types, the wheat yield will grow to 265 thousand metric tons, amounting up to $97 million.

Author

  • Mohammad Haroon Alim holds a BBA degree from Kardan University. He works as a sub-editor for Khaama Press.