FAISALABAD – The country is importing pulses and edible oil worth billions of rupees that can be saved by increasing per acre productivity and promoting its cultivation to attain self sufficiency, said University of Agriculture Faisalabad Vice Chancellor Dr Muhammad Iqbal Zafar.
He was talking to four-member foreign delegation led by Aussie scientist Richard Trethowan from University of Sydney Australia.
Dr Iqbal Zafar stressed the need to take measure to promote pulses and edible oil among the farming community.
He said that the country was blessed with four seasons, fertile land, and ecosystem which were suitable for growing numerous crops. There is the need for diversification in agriculture.
Talking about pulses , he said pulses import stood at Rs100 billion during the previous fiscal year. The grams imports touched to Rs44 billion in the 2016-17 fiscal year whereas, mash imports stood at Rs7.2 billion and dried peas at Rs25 billion.
Talking about edible oil imports, he said the country imported 1.98 million tonnes edible oil worth Rs152.514 billion during the last financial year 2016-17 from July to March, whereas edible oil local production during 2016-17 was provisionally estimated at 0.446 million tonnes. Therefore, edible oil total availability was standing at 2.426 million tonnes.
Richard Trethowan from University of Sydney Australia suggested that the subsidy can be offered to farmers at the government level on pulses and edible oil that will help not only become self sufficient but also earn foreign exchange. Talking about wheat, he said that they are working a project of hybrid wheat with Pakistani scientists that will help ensure food security.
He added that joint efforts in the area of research and technology transfer among the both countries scientists will bring tangible results.
UAF Office of Research Innovation and Commercialization Director (ORIC) Director Dr Zahir Ahmad Zahir said that UAF was running Rs277 million projects with Australia.
M Nawaz Sharif University of Agriculture (MNSUA) Multan Professor Dr Zulfiqar Ali said that they are carrying out fruitful efforts on the hybrid wheat.
Talking about cotton, he said that pink bollworm inflicted loss to cotton economy worth billion of rupees. The tangible measures are being taken by UAF and MNSUA to overcome issue in this regard.