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FAISALABAD: Punjab Minister for Agriculture, Energy, Industries, Commerce, Investment and Skill Development SM Tanveer on Tuesday said that the government was mapping out a comprehensive strategy to uplift the citrus production by keeping the international standards in view and address seed, nursery, diseases and pest management issues in order to fetch forex after meeting local demand.

He presided over a meeting on citrus at the University of Agriculture, Faisalabad. He said that the sustainable agricultural development was the top priority of the government. He said that citrus action plan committee led by University of Agriculture Faisalabad Vice Chancellor Professor Dr Iqrar Ahmad Khan was constituted to address the citrus challenges.

Provincial Minister SM Tanveer said that agricultural experts, academia, industry and policy makers have to make joint efforts to achieve food security. He said that our agricultural institutions are making great efforts to meet the agricultural needs of the ever-growing population. Being an agricultural country, prosperity and poverty alleviation was directly linked with the sector.

UAF Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Iqrar Ahmad Khan said that as per the FAO reports the country’s citrus production was 10.2 ton per hectare in 1970 which is now 11.6 ton per hectare in 2021 whereas, in China, the citrus production was 2.29 ton per hectare which is now 15.3 ton per hectare in 2021, Brazil 15 ton per hectare in 1970 and 27.1 in 2021.

He stressed upon the need to promote the less seeds citrus variety in the country which is the in demands at the international level. He said that we have developed the modern nursery mechanism with industry-public partnership. He called for enhancement of existing and new citrus germplasm to expand the harvest window.

He said that UAF and University of California USA completed the collaborative project on citrus psyllids with the help of tamarexia radiata parasitoids. Dr Mark Hoodie and Dr Jalal Arif completed this project for the management of citrus psyllids.

Prof Dr Iqrar Ahmad Khan also stressed upon the rehabilitation and rejuvenation of existing orchards. He said that most of our orchards are malnourished and deficient in micronutrient. He said that there is no regular soil, water and leaf analysis in orchards to set base for nutrients application. He said that faulty intercropping especially fodder cultivation was common practice.

DG Extension Punjab Ishtiaq Hassan, Chief Scientist Ayub Research Dr Muhammad Akhtar, Pro-Vice Chancellor/ Dean UAF Prof Dr Muhammad Sarwar Khan, former DG Extension Dr Anjum Ali Bhuttar, Dr Muhammad Nawaz Mekan, UAF Deans Prof Dr Qamar Bilal, Prof Dr Farzana Rizvi, Prof Dr Azam Khan, Prof Dr Masood Sadiq Butt, Dr Khalid Mushtaq, Prof Dr Ijaz Bhatti; Principal Officer PRP Prof Dr Jalal Arif, Prof Dr Aman Ullah Malik, Director Research Prof Dr Jafar Jaskani, Prof Dr Asif Kamran, Prof Dr Riaz Virk, Dr Amir Maqsood Gill, Dr Muhammad Dildar Khan Gogi, Dr Muhammad Tayyab, Director Extension Faisalabad Ch Abdul Hameed, Deputy Director Information Qavi Irshad and others attended.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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