- Name: Prof. Dr. G. Sarwar Markhand
- Born: Pakistan
- Nationality: Pakistani
- Institutional Affiliation: Director, Date Palm Research Institute, Shah Abdul Latif University, Khairpur, Sindh
- Alma Mater: Ph.D. Molecular Genetics (UK)
District Khairpur is located in remote part of Sindh, Pakistan, with a rural economy heavily dependent on the date palm industry. The date palm plants cultivated and planted conventionally take 4-5 years to bring fruits. The mortality rate is generally high and sometimes offshoots bring diseases with them which eventually become the source of the problem for the whole area. If the variety has little occurrence then not many offshoots can be available at a time. There is also no chance to cultivate high-value varieties that can fetch high prices for farmers.
Research and Development
Dr. Markhand being an active and challenge accepting scientist, got an opportunity to establish Date Palm Research Institute (DPRI) through a project funded by the Higher Education Commission (HEC). He took the opportunity with great zeal and benefitted society with good quality, rapidly growing date palm trees. The specialized science work was then ready to impact the rural economy.
Around 1000 plants of different date palm varieties produced through tissue culture were distributed free of cost as a gift to the local farmers in September 2014. Some of these plants have given fruit this year. These plants are disease free, uniform in age, availability in terms of quantity, very low rather next to nil mortality rates, easy to transport, fruiting in a third year, etc. These plants are quarantine free and boundaries less.
DPRI now sells plants ready to cultivate on the subsidized rate of Rs.1000 and few thousand plants have already been sold to the local community. Science has done magic for the rural community. Instead of waiting 4-5 years and facing high mortality, they will start enjoying the fruits in three years’ time only with nearly no mortality.
- Ph.D. from Institute of Grassland and Environmental Research (IGER), Aberystwyth, UK, Post Doctorate from University of Reading, UK
- Won Commonwealth Scholarship
- Published more than twenty research papers
- Widely presented his research work in the country and abroad
- Supervised MPhil and PhDs