Islamabad, January 26, 2016 (PPI-OT): Pakistan enjoys a huge potential in citrus and the government is making all out efforts to enhance citrus productivity and quality. This was stated by Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan while chairing a meeting of committee constituted by the Prime Minister on citrus development.
The participants had a detailed discussion on the composition of citrus development board. It is expected that the committee would suggest the composition and mandate of citrus development board in the upcoming meeting.
DG Agriculture Extension Punjab Dr Anjum Ali highlighted the salient features of the proposed project on citrus productivity and quality improvement. Citrus production during 2014-2015 was recorded as 2352.61 thousand tons whereas 370 thousand tons was exported. The DG reiterated that 15.73% of the total production was exported last year. The similar trend is expected this year as well.
KPK representative apprised the Federal Minister that total area under citrus cultivation in KPK is 9880 acres; production stands at 31600 tons with 3.2 tons/acre yield. Measures are underway to increase productivity and better quality.
The minister stressed that issues pertaining to citrus nursery, best agriculture practices, plant nutrition, pruning, intercropping, mechanization, drainage, pest control and poor post harvest handling need to be addressed at the earliest. Minister Bosan directed the authorities to make all out efforts for citrus development and export. DG agriculture extension Punjab briefed the minister on undergoing projects in Punjab. He highlighted that incidence of citrus canker in Sargodha has declined from 45% to 20% as compared to previous year because of timely measures by the government.
It was decided that NARC would initiate training sessions for citrus growers on modern agricultural lines for better quality and yield. It was proposed that Citrus Research Institute may be upgraded to centre of excellence for citrus promotion.
The Federal Minister also constituted a committee headed by deputy food security commissioner to inspect the citrus orchards. Top three growers as per international standards would be awarded cash prizes .The meeting was attended by Parliamentary Secretary Mohsin Shahnawaz Ranjha, additional secretary NFSR, DG NARC, representatives from provinces, growers and exporters.
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