SIALKOT          -           Punjab Agriculture department has initiated a five years National Oilseed Enhancement Programme costing more than Rs.5.11 billion for the promotion of oilseed crops cultivation in 15 districts of the province.

This was stated by Deputy Director Agriculture (Extension) Dr. Iftikhar Ahmed Warriach while talking to APP here on Sunday.

He said that under the plan special attention would be accorded on enhancing the acreage from 45,000 to 100,000 acres in the province for the cultivation of oilseed crops-- sunflower, sesame and canola.

The National Oilseed Enhancement Programme was being carried out in Sialkot, Multan, Bahawalnagar, Okara, Rajanpur, Rahim Yar Khan, Bahawalpur, Lodhran, Mianwali, Layyah, Bhakkar, DG Khan, Vehari, Muzaffargarh and Khanewal districts he added. Dr. Iftikhar said that the steps had been taken for revamping and dissemination of latest production technologies of oilseed to the farmers of these districts.

The basic concept of the programme was to make country self-sufficient in oilseed production for reducing import bills and it would lead towards promoting crop diversification shifting from traditional cropping pattern to high value crops he added.

Under the programme he said efforts would be made for ensuring availability of quality and high yielding oilseed hybrids in the market through oilseed suppliers.

Keeping in view the importance of edible crops the Agriculture department was making strenuous efforts to motivating the growers that they should cultivate oilseed crops and gets maximum benefits and help in enhancing the production of edible oil he said.

It may be mentioned that Pakistan is the 4th largest importer of edible oils in the world and its per capita consumption is 18 KG per annum.  Under the National Oilseed Enhancement programme efforts would be made for making three potential oilseed crops like canola, sesame and sunflower comparable with other cash crops.

On other hand Punjab Secretary Agriculture Wasif Khurshid said that enhancing crops production and prosperity of growers was top priority of the government.

He said that reduction in cost of production and enhancing per acre production of important crops especially cotton was top in Punjab government’s agriculture policy. He said that incumbent government was providing financial resources to achieve the agriculture progress targets.

He said that over Rs300 billions were being spent on various agriculture projects under Prime Minister’s agriculture emergency programme. Secretary agriculture expressed these views while presiding over a meeting. He said that important decisions were made in a meeting led by Prime Minister Imran Khan for restoration of cotton and to achieve the cotton crop targets 2020.

He said that re-organization of central cotton committee was being made to improve cotton research standards. Wasif said that it was decided to make Pakistan cotton committee an independent institution in which effective representation of private sector while endowment fund was being establish for cotton research.

 He said that Prime Minister had also constituted a committee for implementation on these decisions and task was given to resolve all issues by March-31. He said that initiatives would help to increase cotton production and milestone in progress of textile industry.

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