PARB approves Rs 140.22 million for research projects

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LAHORE : The Punjab Agricultural Research Board (PARB) has approved a sum of Rs 140.220 million for funding seven higher priority research projects. The approval was given in the 22nd meeting of the Board of Directors held here on Wednesday with the Punjab Minister for Agriculture Malik Ahmad Ali Aulakh in the chair.

According to details Rs 22.824 million was approved for the project Development of Tomato hybrids suitable for sowing in tunnels and open fields of Punjab aimed at availability of at least three locally developed tomato hybrids suitable for sowing in tunnels and open fields to prolong the supply of fresh tomatoes.

An amount of Rs 12.654 million was approved for Improvement of value chain and tradability of farmers produce with the objective of growing crops as per international Food Safety Standards and help farmers/ private operators to establish trading platforms equipped with required infrastructure.

Punjab Institute of Agricultural Marketing (PIAM) will also get 6 master trainers trained from
China and build the capacity of the extension agents, farmers and other stakeholders. Besides imparting training to the stakeholders, PIAM will also regularly monitor the forward and backward linkages with the trading platforms. Moreover, an amount of Rs 12.36 million was approved for the project Clonal Propagation of Guava through Soft Wood Cuttings with the objectives of availability of 5 quality guava cultivars, standardised propagation technique through soft wood cuttings and establishment of progeny guava orchards.

The Board of Directors also approved Rs 8.055 million for the project Development of high yielding and fusarium wilt tolerant/ resistant early season varieties of peas . Under this development project field losses will be minimised through the development of one high yielding and fusarium wilt tolerant pea variety.

Sugar Leaf is a perennial shrub and is grown commercially in many parts of
Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Central America, Thailand and China. Stevioside, the main sweet component in the leaves of the Stevia plant is about 300 times sweeter than table sugar. To import genotypes, test adaptability of sugar leaf plants in Punjab and develop processing technology for table use an amount of Rs 22.750 million was also allocated for the project Development and dissemination of production technology of Sugar Leaf .

Further more an amount of Rs 41.485 million was also approved for Development and commercialisation of indigenous transgenic cotton hybrids with the objective to develop six cotton hybrids with genetic resistance to bollworms and non-selective herbicide Glyphosate.

Earlier it was briefed in the meeting that PARB has provided Rs 436.904 million for agricultural research during last two years. Arif Nadeem,
Punjab Secretary Agriculture said that higher priority and demand driven research projects are funded by PARB under competitive grant system. He further said that well defined outcome indicators are set for these projects and accomplishment of these indicators is a pre-requisite for continuous funding. Minister for Agriculture said that agriculture is top priority of Punjab Government for which adequate resources are being provided to conduct research according to international standards for enhancing productivity on sustainable basis.

Courtesy: Business Recorder

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