ICARDA Pakistan Country Office established in 2004

Current projects: 1

Country manager: Abdul Majid



Agriculture is the most important sector of Pakistan’s economy, contributing almost 32% of GDP and employing 65% of the labor force (either full or part-time). However, Pakistan is predominantly a dry-land country where 80% of its land area is arid or semi-arid, about 12% is dry sub-humid and the remaining 8% is humid. Two-thirds of Pakistan’s rapidly increasing population depends on dryland agriculture to support their livelihood, mainly through agro-pastoral activities. However, drylands in Pakistan are severely affected by land degradation and desertification due to unsustainable land management practices and increasing demands on natural resources. The situation is further aggravated by water scarcity, frequent droughts, and mismanagement of land resources, contributing to reduced productivity and increasing rural poverty.

ICARDA collaborates with Pakistan on improving crop production and livestock feeding and management, soil and water conservation, rangeland rehabilitation and reclamation, and biodiversity conservation. The International Livestock Research Institute commissioned ICARDA to co-implement livestock-based programs within the Pakistan Agricultural Innovation Program framework.


  • Identification and promotion of improved forage varieties with high yield potential with appropriate agronomic practices through fodder production for spring and fall.
  • In collaboration with NARC, ICARDA develops improved varieties of barley and oats compared to wheat production with selected farmers to initiate village-based seed enterprises (VBSE) at Beghal and Dhulli in the Chakwal district.
  • Initiated rotational grazing in Ahmadun Ziarta (Balochistan), Bahawalpur (Punjab Province), Chakwal, and Umerkot (Sindh).
  • Rehabilitation of degraded rangelands in Balochistan through the introduction and development of sustainable management practices for improving rangelands -namely water harvesting combined with shrub planting.
  • Prevention and control of internal parasites in small ruminants through synthetic and herbal anthelmintics.


  • Supplemental feeding of pregnant ewes/does enhance reproduction.


  • ICARDA-improved fodder varieties of Alfalfa and Berseem yields were significantly (P<0.05) higher than the local variety. 
  • ICARDA-improved maize variety produced 70t/ha higher yield than the local variety in Begal village, and a 45 t/ha higher yield than the local variety in Dhulli village.
  • ICARDA-improved millet (green) fodder yield had a 26% increase over farmers’ local variety under medium rainfall in Begal.
  • About 70% of the seed produced under VBSEs was successfully marketed at premium prices. The market price for wheat was around 1,500 rupees (8.75 USD)/50 kg, whereas VBSE farmers were able to sell seed from 2,500 to 3,500 rupees (14.58 to 20.41 USD)/50 kg bag.
  • In 2015 and 2016, rotational grazing improved rangeland productivity by 55% and 40% respectively. 
  • ICARDA climate-smart water harvesting techniques provide farmers with the opportunity to grow shrubs and conserve water in dry periods.
  • Of the anthelmintics tested, animals treated with Nilzan plus, Ivermectin and Atreefal Deedan under ICARDA’s livestock programs showed the highest reduction (90-97%) in fecal parasitic egg counts, followed by Deedani (80-86%) and Kirmar (73-76%) 
  • Through supplemental feeding of pregnant ewes, in addition to grazing-enhanced production, ewes showed a live weight gain of 3-5 kg, and lambs/kids survival reached 80-90%. 



Innovations in Pakistan


Cotton is a major contributor to Pakistan’s economy, but yields are often threatened by the virus, which can cause losses of up to 20-40 percent.
An effort to improve soil fertility and health is reaping significant benefits for the productivity and sustainability of smallholder farming systems in Pakistan.