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FAISALABAD: It is a matter of grave concern that the country is spending as many as many $5000 million on the import of edible oil and poultry feed. It can be saved by promoting the soyabean cultivation at national level under intercropping system.

It was stated by University of Agriculture Faisalabad Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Iqrar Ahmad Khan while presiding over a meeting on soyabean cultivation. Islamia University of Bahawalpur Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Athar Mehboob was the guest of honour on the occasion. The meeting was attended by Pro-Vice Chancellor Dr Anas Sarwar Qureshi, deans, and directors while UAF Soyabean Cell In-charge Dr Zaheer Ahmed, and National Research Center for Intercropping Technology Islamia University Bahawalpur Director Dr Muhammad Ali Raza gave a briefing over the UAF-IUB ongoing joints soyabean projects.

Dr Iqrar Ahmad Khan said that soyabean is one of the famous crops in the world but unfortunately we are far lagging behind in its cultivation. He said that a huge amount of $1000 million is being spent for poultry feed industry while import of $3,000 million was made for edible oil.

He said that if soyabean cultivation was ensured with the help of intercropping system technology along with maize, sugarcane and other crops, it would not only help meet the demands of the country but also provide opportunities to earn billions of rupees by exporting. He said that it was essential for the intercropping system to develop mechanization. He hoped that joint soyabean research projects by UAF and IUB would prove a milestone in the promotion.

Dr Athar Mehboob said that work on three UAF & IUB joint soyabean projects is in full swing while three more projects are likely to be launched in the coming days. He said that adoption of modern trends in the field of agriculture would not only help achieve the goal of food security but would also alleviate poverty. He said that we have to develop a strategy to address the issues of the country by using the developed countries models and tangible research works. It will open up new avenues of development. He said that different projects worth Rs12 billion were underway in IUB which would move the university to new heights of the progress. He said that out of Rs12 billion, Rs4 billion has been secured under public-private partnership.

Dr Zaheer Ahmed said that 30 percent of vegetable oil is obtained from soyabean worldwide while it is being used in more than 400 food industries. He said that soyabean cultivation at the national level was negligible and its promotion under intercropping system was the need of the hour. He said that both institutions were making all out efforts to promote soyabean cultivation on scientific basis. He said that there was a need to create public awareness for enhancing the usage of soyabean as part of food in addition to edible oil. Soyabeans contain 40% protein and 20% oil, he said.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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