Divisional Commissioner Sardar Akram Javed expressed his anguish over the bad performance of the Market Committee and revenue staff at fruit and vegetables markets and directed them to wisely monitor the auction process and control price hike.

He said that Punjab govt was committed to stabilising the prices of essential commodities. Careless and laxity in duty would not be tolerated at any cost, he said. He paid a surprising visit to fruit & vegetables market Sadhar.

Flanked by RPO Muhammad Nawaz Warriach and AC Mahr Shafqatullah Mushtaq, the commissioner took a round of the market and examined the auction process at different sheds. They observed the auction prices of the vegetables and fruit and compared them with the open market rates. They expressed their concerns over sale of the items in open market on exorbitant rates.

They directed the market officials to provide the list of wholesale market rates to the price control magistrates so that unjustified price hike could be discouraged in the market. The commissioner directed for improvement of cleanliness there. RPO said that police officers were also keeping a vigilant eye on profiteers under the directions of the Punjab chief minister, and strict legal actions were being taken against the elements involved in hoardings and profiteering.

He directed the local police to remain present at the time of auction process in markets.

Meanwhile, the divisional commissioner also visited Sahulat bazaars in the city and expressed displeasure over the poor arrangements.  TMO Madina Town Malik Amin was made OSD for poor performance regarding arrangements at Susan Road Madina Town. He directed that separate blocks be arranged for vegetables, fruits and other grocery items. He directed that Sahulat bazaar be arranged in an organised manner to facilitate the consumers.

Reliance on pesticides: Excessive use of pesticides is not only increasing the resistance among insects but also affects human health because of pesticide residues contamination, reaching at alarming level. The country imports 12,000 metric tonnes of active ingredients of pesticides in a year.

It was revealed by the speakers at an International Conference on Integrated Pest Management (IPM) of Fruits and Vegetable arranged by the Department of Entomology, University of Agriculture Faisalabad. The session was chaired by UAF Vice Chancellor Dr Iqrar Ahmad while Dr Oscar E Liburd from the University of Florida, USA was guest of honour on the occasion.

Dr Oscar E Liburd said that it was need of the hour to adopt and promote the IPM techniques. Pesticides can be used as the last resort, he added. He said that over reliance on pesticides can have negative consequences including worker safety issue, contamination of ground water, and negative effect on beneficial arthropods including honey bee and others.  He was of the view that the world population will touch to 9 billion by 2050. Keeping the situation in view, it is must to ensure the food security and safety to feed the growing population.

Dr Iqrar stressed the need for adopt the Integrated Pest Management in order to lowering down the impact of the pesticides.

He said that IPM is an approach of pest management which considers the whole agro-ecosystem. He said that Pakistan is cultivating fruits and vegetables on 4 percent of land. He said fruits production was standing at 0.70 million tonnes whereas vegetables share is 0.72 million tonnes. He said Pakistan's share in global market of fruits and vegetables is fetching $625 million.  He said with the use of IPM, not only the production can be increased manifold but also a move to minimize hazardous affect on human health. 

Plant Breeding and Genetic Chairman Dr Abdus Salam Khan called for stepping up efforts to ensure the food security. He said that residues from the misuse of pesticides are major concern in many countries including Pakistan.  He said that 28.5% of fruits and 37% of vegetables exceeded the maximum residual limits (MRL). Department of Entomology Chairman Prof Dr Jalal Arif said that it is a matter of grave concerns that Pakistan's annual losses to fruits and vegetables are standing as many as $200 million because of the attack of fruit flies. Almost 1/3rd of the total harvest is destroyed by the potential pest. He said that the use of pesticide in Pakistan has increased manifold in the last 20 years. The trend must be curtailed and replace with IPM. 

Dr Jaffar Jaskani said that the country was standing at the fifth largest country in mango and guava production, 6th in apricot, 7th in dates. He stressed the need to ensure latest approaches covering production, post-harvest management, processing and marketing.  Prof Dr Dildar Gogi said that about 11 species of fruit flies have been documented from Pakistan. He said that due to pesticides used for fruit fly management, during 2010, as many as 27 export consignments were rejected from EU countries while 175 from USA. 

Dr Ahmad Nawaz stressed the need to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables to minimize the potential of increased exposure to a single pesticide.  He said that IPM was the best practice to cope with the situation based on latest approaches of pest management. Dr Rashad Waseem said that the production of Horticultural crops including fruits and vegetables have been estimated 15.12 Million tonnes. The vegetables contribute 50% share in national Horticulture production of Pakistan from more than 600, 000 hectares. Dr Jam Nazir and Dr Fatima Mustafa also spoke on the occasion,