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HYDERABAD: Sindh Agriculture University (SAU), Tandojam would revise the MoU to conduct research, development and engage the students to boost up oil palm technology in Sindh, Pakistan.

The meeting presided by Prof Dr Fateh Muhammad Mari, Vice Chancellor, Sindh Agriculture University, Tandojam and attended by Virender Kumar, Project Manager Agriculture Dalda Foods Ltd., Dr A W Gandahi, Focal Person and Professor Department of Soil Sciences, Dr Mujahid Hussain Laghari, Chairman, High Power Farm Management Committee, Prof Dr Muhammad Ismail Kumbhar, Director UA & FA, and Nasir Memon, PhD Scholar conducting his PhD research work on Oil Palm Plantation in Sindh attended the meeting at Sindh Agriculture University, Tandojam.

Prof Dr Fateh Muhammad Mari, emphasise and urged the scholars, academia and researcher to conduct research for technology development, commercialisation, digital financing for farmers, and develop linkages with stakeholders for the development of oil seed crops in Sindh Pakistan.

He further added that, there is a worldwide demand for palm oil which increased over the last few years and it has the highest per acre yield potential in coastal area of Sindh, Pakistan and cheapest vegetable oil. He further added that Pakistan is facing chronic shortage of edible oil and annually $4 billion dollars is spent on its import.

Prof Dr Fateh Muhammad Mari further added that to provide quality planting material of oil palm to the farmers a tissue culture lab will be established at Sindh Agriculture University, Tandojam and simultaneously the Research and Development site already established will further strengthen production technology and also develop ground for academia, research and farmers for modern agriculture. It is imperative to concentrate on the Research and Development (R&D) of local oil and oil seeds in Pakistan together with public and private partnership and SAU will also extend and revise the MoU for further commercialisation of the project.

He further added that Dalda Foundation may extend its hands of cooperation on providing scholarships to deserving and needy students of the SAU and oil seed farmers desk will be established at SAU Tandojam with public private partnership and farmers will be registered for transfer of technology.

He added that the virgin land of coastal area of Sindh and Balochistan could be brought under oil palm plantation through launching a strategic positive, encouraging campaign. So that the country would be able to become self sufficient in palm oil production domestically.

Virender Kumar, Project Manager Agriculture, Dalda Foods Ltd. highlighted the achievements of oil palm plantation research site established at Sindh Agriculture University, Tandojam under the MoU signed in 2015. He added that the site has successfully conducted research trials on sunflower intercrop with oil palm which resulted in higher yield and better palm plantation growth. Simultaneously the Thai Variety of Oil Palm Cirad started bearing fruits within 3 years and scholars, students of SAU Tandojam have already been engaged in research trials.

Prof Dr Muhammad Ismail Kumbhar, Director UA & FA, said that the SAU and Dalda Foundation collaboration attracted the national and international organisations working on Oil Palm Plantation. He added that Chinese academy of Tropical Agricultural Science CATAS showed great interest to work together on research and development in Oil Palm. He further added that the students and farmers may be engaged for technology transfer by conducting field days and seminars together by SAU and Dalda.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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