HarvestPlus supports the Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) to breed, test, and release varieties of zinc wheat developed in partnership with the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT). Wheat is the primary staple food in Pakistan
The first zinc wheat variety, Zincol-2015, was released to farmers at the onset of the wheat cropping season during 2015-16, and mass produced through our partnership with public and private seed multipliers and farmers. Initially, we are focusing on multiplying and providing zinc wheat seed through a select number of partners to target home production and consumption. We are also setting up demonstration plots in all provinces, and providing seed at subsidized rates to small and medium scale farmers. Public awareness campaigns, including through trainings, meetings, field days, and the media, are helping to educate farmers on the benefits of zinc wheat. We are continuing our support to the PARC and the National Agricultural Research System to develop more, higher yielding zinc wheat varieties for future release.
“As a farmer, I am looking forward to producing and consuming high-zinc wheat.”— Syed Hassan Raza, farmer
Pakistan ranks number 5 out of 73 countries suitable for investing in zinc wheat.
Nutritional Benefits: Provides up to 50% of daily zinc needs
Farmer Benefits: High yielding and disease resistant
- Zinc deficiency contributes to stunting and loss of appetite, lowers immunity, and increases the risk of diarrheal disease and respiratory infections.
- 45% of children under 5 in Pakistan are estimated to be zinc deficient (WHO).
- Mineral and vitamin deficiencies cost Pakistan nearly US$3 billion in GDP losses annually (World Bank).