Pakistan Agriculture Research Council (PARC), under its pulses development initiative, has provided subsidized seeds of different beans to over 41,705 farmers across pulses production areas in the country. The seeds of different pulses were provided to local farmers on a 50pc subsidy, aiming at enhancing the per-acre output of different pulses for attaining self-sufficiency in leguminous production. The other objective of the initiative was to reduce the reliance on imported pulses which were consuming billions of dollars annually, said Chairman Pakistan Agriculture Research Council Dr Ghulam Muhammad Ali. Talking to APP, he said that under the program, the national pulses policy framework was developed, besides organizing 3 stakeholders traveling seminars and distribution of pulses machinery among the farmers across the four provinces. He said that after the commencement of the program about 12 portable irrigation systems were also provided to farmers, besides releasing 15 varieties of different pulses. At the time of project commencement country’s mung bean production was 133 thousand tons, which enhanced to 209 thousand tons after the first year of interventions. These interventions were included in the provision of improved seed varieties on 50pc subsidy, farmers’ capacity building, and on farmers’ field demonstration plots with improved production technology, he added. In 2021, the production of mung beans reached 253 thousand tons attaining self-sufficiency level for the country as local national demand was estimated at 180 thousand tons. In order to develop resilience against malnutrition and hunger in natural resource constraint areas of Thar Parker, PARC had conducted 07 training programs and trained over 1,000 people to promote the agriculture sector at the micro-level, he added. The initiative was aimed at strengthening the government’s effort to ensure sufficient intake of food nutrients by promoting agriculture with the development of basic infrastructure according to the ecological requirements to address the challenges of hunger and malnutrition. Dr Ali further said that under the initiative over 1,000 people including farmers, agriculture extension workers, social activists and members of non-governmental organizations provided basic training for agriculture promotion in these areas. The training programs were executed through PARC’s Agriculture Research Zone Umarkot, which was working with a local non-governmental organization Thardeep and planted different fruit trees including dates, mangoes, guava, lemon, jujube and cheeko over 40 acres, he added. He said that drip-irrigation techniques were also introduced and installed for promoting agriculture with the implementation of smart agriculture techniques, adding that two seed banks having 17 varieties of different beans were also established. The seed bank was providing seeds of different pulses including cluster bean, moong bean, sesame seeds and moth beans, he said adding that the seeds were acclimatized with the local environment and it was producing good results and fulfilling the dietary requirements of the local population. Two organic fertilizers plants were also established and local communities were provided seeds of different vegetables for promoting kitchen gardening in order to fulfill their domestic requirements, he said adding that it was gaining momentum in these areas. The Chairman PARC informed that due to these interventions, pluses production in these areas were gaining momentum as it was also fulfilling their requirements and helping in addressing the nutritional challenges faced by that area’s issues. So far over 150 mounds of seeds of different pulses were distributed among the farmers of Thar, besides 12 mounds of seeds of cluster bean also provided to Thar farmers during the season, adding that due to favorable weather, the tremendous output of different beans was achieved during last year.