Khairpur—Technology obtained through solar energy can be utilized to increase crop production and better results and the scientists of Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC) are playing significant role for making the country self-sufficient in food production. The use of solar technology and advanced methods to dry dates can increase date production in the country while Sindh province has special importance in agriculture production.
This was stated by Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research (NFS&R), Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan while addressing on the occasion of a Field Day/Seminar/Demonstration of Solar Dates Dryers in Khairpur on Friday. The event was organized by PARC under the project ‘Post Harvest Management and Value Addition of Fruits in Production Catchments in SAARC Countries (Pakistan Component)’. The Minister said that the promotion and development of horticulture sector in Sindh would result in economic growth in the province.
This sector has great potential to raise employment opportunities in rural areas as well as progress towards national food security and economic development. He said horticulture sector is contributing 11.8 per cent share in the country’s economy. Bosan said that in horticulture sector, dates are the third important fruit of Pakistan with production of 6 lac ton annually. In Pakistan, over 50 per cent of dates are cultivated in Sindh. He said that the date production growers are facing many problems due to lack of facilities to dry and preserve dates.
Mostly dung dates are turned into showara that are sold on very cheap price. He said that the farmers using old technology to dry dates which resulting in production of low quality dates. This quality does not meet the standard of international market due to which farmers are not getting their benefits of the production. He said PARC scientists have introduced a new technology through which dates can be dried by using solar energy. Through this technology growers can obtain clean and export quality dates. He further said that federal and provincial government would make efforts to transfer this technology in date production areas of the country and to aware the farmers about the benefit of this new technology.
On this occasion, Chairman, PARC, Dr. Nadeem Amjad said that this event has been organized for dates growers to aware them about new technologies introduced by PARC. He said that the PARC has introduced many new innovations and technologies for the development of agriculture sector. The organization has transferred these technologies to the farmers which include zero tillage drill, wheat straw chopper, rice thresher, seed processor, groundnut digger / thresher, canola thresher, fertilizer band placement wheat drill, seed drill and other machines like solar energy system to dry fruit and vegetables, wheat and rice sowing machine, olive oil extraction machine and many other farm machinery. He said that in Pakistan the annual production of fruits is 60 lac ton but 30 to 40 per cent fruits are wasted due to lack of proper facilities for its management which result in loss of about one hundred billion rupees.