ISLAMABAD, Dec 29 (APP): Pakistan Agriculture Research Council (PARC) would introduce about 200 national brands of different food products in local market for promoting value addition of agriculture products as well as reducing domestic reliance on imported food stuff and to provide cost effective consumables to a common man in the country.
The initiative was aiming at to reduce poverty in the rural areas of the country by enhancing farm income with value addition of agriculture products being produce in these areas, said Director General PARC Dr Muhammad Azeem Khan.
While talking to APP he informed that PARC in collaboration with the private sector embarking upon an holistic plan for transforming value added agriculture to reduce import of food items that consume about $1.5 to $2 billion worth of the country’s foreign exchange reserves annually and was a major cause of trade deficit.
“The other objective of the initiative was to encourage a large bulge of educated youth in agri-sector by providing them basic training and facilities for value addition of agriculture products to start their own business for a respectable livelihood, ” he added.
He said that all the products would be properly labeled and branded, adding that in this regard an ISO certified laboratory would be established at National Agriculture Research Center that would help to produce food items of international standards and attract the consumers.
He said that government was focusing on increased productivity of major crops and would spend Rs 395 billion on 13 different agriculture sector development projects that would be completed in collaboration with provincial governments.
He informed that PARC had already introduced many 30 brands of local products that included olive oil, honey, rice, wheat flour, tea and yogurt that was completely nutrient filled, hygienic and cost effective as compared with the open market.
He said that fish and yogurt processing plant has been established in NARC, adding that it was also providing training for interested entrepreneurs to establish their own business.
In this regard, he said that PARC had also established its four new research stations in different ecologies that would start functioning by the end of this year to help promoting the agriculture and livestock sectors in the far flung areas of the country.
These research stations had established in Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, erstwhile Federally Administrated Tribal Areas and Gilgit Baltistan to provide innovative agriculture solution and livestock farming to alleviate poverty from these areas.
He said these research stations were established at Zhob, Wana, Waziristan and Khuzdar that would help untapping the existing potential of agriculture of these areas and bringing more area under different crop production.
The PARC head informed that about 100,000 hectares of land would be brought under olive cultivation by 2023, adding that 4 million hectares of land was already identified for olive cultivation.
He said that about one million olive plant would be provided for million tree tsunami project, adding that canola had also been cultivated over thousands of hectares to reduce import bill of edible oil.