Goal oriented research is being conducted in Plant Breeding and Genetics Division at NIFA on the improvement of economically important crops for achieving sustainable higher productivity and to improve different quality attributes through induced mutations, classical breeding and in- vitro culture techniques. Various In-Vitro culture techniques like microspore culture, shoot tip culture, embryo culture, meristem tip culture and micro propagation etc. are being employed for the genetic improvement of field and horticultural crops.
Wheat, chickpea (gram) and oilseed brassica (Rape and Mustard) are important winter season crops being grown on appreciable area of the total annual cropped area in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK). The end products of these crops are the main food items of the people of Pakistan. Pakistan has been facing serious shortages of wheat, chickpea and edible oils for the past many years. Although Pakistan has attained modest autarky in wheat production, large qualities of pulses and edible oils are still being imported at the cost of precious foreign exchequer to meet the domestic requirements. To meet the ever-increasing demand, there is an urgent need to increase the local production of wheat, chickpea and oilseed brassica. Out of several reasons the non-availability of high yielding, disease resistant, widely adapted and good quality varieties of these crops and their quality seed in sufficient quantities is the major bottleneck in way of increasing local production in the country.
The Plant Breeding and Genetics Division of NIFA comprises of four research groups namely Bread Wheat Improvement Group, Oilseed Brassica Group, Biotechnology Group and Pulses Group. The scientists working in these groups are engaged in the genetic improvement of their respective crops by applying conventional and advanced breeding techniques with main focus on:
- Development of high yielding, disease resistant and widely adapted wheat varieties suited for irrigated and rainfed areas in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
- Development and release of high yielding, disease resistant and canola quality rapeseed and mustard cultivars
- Development of chickpea and mungbean varieties through induced mutations and cross breeding techniques
- Improvement of Sugarcane and Stevia through the use of induced mutation / biotechnological techniques