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MULTAN: Medicinal plants, in connection with vision to promote high value crops, were cultivated at area of over 1000 kanals in districts Multan, Khanewal and Bahawalpur. This was stated by Assistant Director Fruits and Vegetable Dr Qaisar while talking to APP, here on Sunday.

He informed that promotion of high value crops was a joint venture of ministry of national food security & research and agriculture department Punjab. About high value crops, he explained that high value crop offered high economic returns, contrary to traditionally sown crops. About sowing of medicinal plants, Dr Qaisar added that Fennel seed (soo’nf), Kalonji, Celery (Ajwine), Spaghetti (Ispghol), Basil (Tulsi) and Linseed (Alsi) were cultivated in district Multan, Khanewal and Bahawalpur. The government is offering seeds and fertilizers, free of cost, for demonstration plants. Similarly, the expenditure of these six crops were very low.

There was immense use of these plants in manufacturing of medicines. Pakistan used to import these medicinal plants or their extracts from neighbourly country and thus it had to pay high amounts, said Dr Qaisar.

Now, the incumbent government is paying immense focus on promotion of high value crops. Both, financial and technical assistance is being provided to farmers, said Dr Qaisar. Recently, medicinal plants have been sown at area of 1000 Kanals, with assistance of government, in the region.

To a query about profit margin, the assistant director fruit and vegetable stated that these medicinal plants offer gigantic returns, beyond expectation of farmers. He, however, added that local farmers lacked awareness about the medicinal plants.

The department is also holding awareness session for the peasants. About marketing of the medicinal crops, he stated that the government held talks with different pharmaceutical and herbal companies. Dr Qaisar urged farmers to cultivate high value crops also as it would help improving their standard of life but also strengthen country’s economy.

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