MULTAN-Southern Punjab is a diverse agricultural hub and the establishment of agricultural varsity will give a progressive boost to the agriculture sector in the region.

Muhammad Nawaz Sharif University of Agriculture (MNSU) Vice Chancellor Dr Asif Ali stated while talking to a delegation of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) here on Friday.

He added that the MNS University is the only Agriculture University in this dynamic area. He said that the University of Agriculture, Faisalabad was launched to fulfil the agricultural needs of the area and the varsity turned Faisalabad into a progressive and prosperous area in a short period of time. “At the present, Faisalabad has become an industrial city whereas Southern Punjab is still an agriculture zone,” he added.

The VC said that the MNSUA has a plan to build a seed production unit over 250 acres at Khanewal district. “Few steps in this regard have already been taken like the formation of South Punjab Agriculture Forum which includes all agriculture research related institutes of the belt like MRI, CRS, CCRI etc. to create mutual cooperation for a common cause of benefiting the farming community of the region by extending outreach activities,” he further explained.

The JICA delegation called on the VC under the leadership of Mr Yukioj, Incharge Fruit Cultivation/Agro-Product Processing along with other members Ms Megumi Fujita, Community Organization Specialist, Mr Amir Bukhari, Senior Program Officer and Mr. Naveed Shahzad.

The JICA delegation acknowledged that Pakistan has enormous potential and opportunities for the production of fruits. We are keen to work regarding date palm farming especially Ajwa type. The philosophy behind the date palm farming is the provision of practical information to the poor farmers so that they get maximum returns with minimum expenditures. The Vice Chancellor briefed the delegation about the production of quality mangoes in the Southern Punjab, adding further he said the area is fertile regarding the mango production especially the mango variety Chaunsa which is pulpy and is significant in production among all the cultivated varieties. Dr Ishtiaq Ahmad Rajwana, Dean Faculty of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences also gave a comprehensive presentation regarding the mango production in this region.

The VC also briefed the delegation that the grapes production has been started in the Southern Punjab due to the fact that the demand of grapes is rising day by day and its production is still far below. Furthermore, the delegation was also informed about the facilities of newly build Multan International Airport and cargo facilities.

The VC further added that our fruit industry is facing the problems of packing and quality control. By addressing these issues through proper solutions, post harvest loses, we will be able to export the quality fruits to the different countries. At the end, the VC assured the delegation about all possible support and cooperation from the university in future.