Chairman Pakistan Agriculture Research Council (PARC) Dr Ghulam Muhammad Ali on Saturday said that the council was making coordinated efforts at national and provincial levels, besides strengthening its linkages with international development partners and development agencies to bring the local agriculture sector at par with international standards to achieve self-sufficiency in food production and economic development of the country. He said that research-based solutions, technological advancement was inevitable to overcome the challenges confronted by the national agriculture sector for maintaining food safety and security, besides achieving sustainable long-term economic growth and social prosperity in the country. Briefing the media persons at National Agriculture Research Center, he said that climate change was the big challenge for agriculture and livestock sectors in the country, adding that unsustainable use of natural resources, high cost of inputs, rapid urbanization and high growth in population were among the other looming issues. He said that to overcome all these issues and challenges, a national agriculture research system was developed to provide research-based solutions to farming communities according to their ecological requirements, adding that areas were also identified for the production of high-value crops and maximization of farm income. Under this system, he said that vast areas identified in four provinces including northern areas and Azad Kashmir for the production of high-value crops including oilseeds, citrus and nuts, adding that the implementation of the initiative would help to promote high-value crop production as against the production of conventional crops. Dr Ali told that PARC has also started work on new technologies for developing new varieties of high-yielding seeds of the major and minor crops in order to enhance per-acre crop out to tackle the growing demand of food as well as for exporting to develop the economy on a sound basis. So far, the PARC had developed over 65 varieties of different major and minor crops including the development of 08 hybrids of different crops and disseminated among the growers, he said adding that due to these efforts Pakistan was now producing surplus output in major crops like wheat, rice, sugarcane, and maize. The PARC is also introducing four new seed varieties of long and extra-long grain rice to enhance per-acre crop output and farm income, particularly the income of medium and small farmers, he said adding that development of new verities would help in yielding about 80-120 mounds of rice per acre as against the conventional verities, which was providing 40 to 50 mounds per acre. These high-yielding seed varieties were cultivated over three different locations on a test and trial basis and initial results of uniform yield trails were showing encouraging trends while in some locations the output crossed 105 mounds per acre, he added.