Strong Agriculture, Strong Economy: Dr. Gul Muhammad Baloch

By: Ali Raza Arain

Professor Dr. Gul Muhammad Baloch is an agriculturist and a renowned researcher.  He was born in a  village Makrani Goth near Tando Jam.

After his early education, Dr. Gul graduated from University of Sindh Jamshoro and did his Masters in Plant Breeding and Genetics from Sindh Agriculture University Tando Jam. In 1990, Mr Baloch got PhD scholarship and went to Durham University UK.

He returned in 1993 and joined Agriculture Research Institute Tando Jam as Cotton Botanist, later as Project Director.

He is now professor at Plant Breeding and Genetics Department (SAU) and chairman of high-powered University Farms Committee.

Q: Share your experiences related to your early life and education?

A: Dr. Gul: I grew up in a village and there, I was the first person to pass the primary standard. In early days, I labored to meet my educational expenses; my father was laborer too at the Agricultural University. He supported me a lot and when I started working there as Lecturer, it was a pleasant moment for my father and family.

Q: How do you see the Agricultural contribution in our state?

A: Dr. Gul: As far as my point of view is concerned, Agriculture contributes a lot in our state; it is a backbone of economy. I would say 'strong agriculture means strong economy.'

Q: Have your achievements benefited the Agricultural field?

A: Dr. Gul: Surely, I have produced three different varieties of cotton. In 2006, first variety of cotton named "Hari Dost" was introduced after the approval of Sindh Govt, which earned me loads of fame; but that was not enough, so in 2010, two more varieties of cotton named "Malmal" and "Sindh One" were introduced. These varieties are gift for farmers of my country.

Q: How would you describe the importance of Plant Breeding and Genetics in the field of Agriculture?

A: Dr. Gul: Agricultural structure heavily depends upon Plant Breeding and Genetics, through PBG, new varieties are produced which can not be affected by the pest (INSECTS). PBG also produces low water requiring and high yielding, early maturing varieties, heat tolerant varieties and commercial existing varieties of the crops. So, I would say without PBG, the field of Agriculture is incomplete.

Q: What steps should be taken to improve the production of our crops?

A: Dr. Gul: for betterment in production, few prominent things are mandatory.

1. Availability of water

2. Preparation of land (leveling of land) 3.  Laser leveling 4.  Selection of quality seed5. Plant population.

Another thing is that we should improve the moral and physical qualities of our farmers.

Q:Any improvement in the structure of University Farms, after your appointment?

A: Dr. Gul: University inherits 800 acre cultivated land, where we grow different crops, since I have been in charge, an increment of almost 30% of their growth has been observed and production is much better than before.

Q: What are the reasons for unemployment of Agri-Graduates in an Agricultural country?

A: Dr. Gul: There are many reasons,

1. Mismanagement and injustice; nonprofessionals are appointed on the source of high-profile government officials.

2. Not only government but private companies too hire nonprofessionals and this injustice deprives youth from their rights.

3.  Hundreds of Seed and Pesticide companies are running in Pakistan appointing inexperienced candidates. They should rather prefer Breeders, Agronomists and Entomologists