AIP to strengthen agri research

ISLAMABAD (APP):Federal Secretary Ministry of National Food Security and Research Seerat Asghar on Friday said that Agricultural Innovation Program (AIP) for Pakistan is playing an important role to strengthen agricultural research system in the country by providing financial resources, HRD and new innovations. While presiding over a meeting for establishment of Provincial Agricultural Research Boards in Balochistan, Khyber Paktunkhwa and Sindh here at Pakistan Agricultural Research Council (PARC), he said some farmers are still growing local varieties of various crops which cause low productivity,according to a press release issued by PARC.

Seerat Asghar said Pakistan Agricultural Storage and Services Corporation (PASSCO) has been given the task of development of seed of improved varieties to availability of quality and improved varieties seed to our farming community.

Chairman PARC, Dr.Iftikhar Ahmad said wheat productivity had doubled in Pakistan whereas the production of pulses is low.

He said there is need for investment in technology to increase production of pulses in the country.

He said there is also need to modernize our agriculture on the pattern of advanced countries.

On this occasion, Dr. Muhammad Imtiaz, CIMMYT Country Representative- Pakistan gave a detailed overview of Agricultural Innovation Program (AIP) for Pakistan.

Dr. Stephen Davies from IFPRI-PSSP, Dr. Jennifer (CIMMYT), Dr. Nazim Ali (USAID), Dr. Shahid Masood, Member (Plant Sciences) PARC / Focal Person (AIP), Dr. Shahid Rafique, Member (Animal Sciences), Dr. Umer Farooq, Member (Social Sciences) and other senior officers also shared their views and experience with the meeting participants.

Sindh Bank becomes part of PM’s Youth Programme

ISLAMABAD (Staff Reporter): Sindh Bank has become part of the Prime Minister’s Youth Programme with an initial allocated amount of Rs 100 million. Chairperson Prime Minister’s Youth Programme, Leila Khan on Friday congratulated Sindh Bank on behalf of the Prime Minister for joining the PM’s Business Loan Scheme. She was talking to President of Sindh Bank Bilal Sheikh here on Friday. President Sindh Bank said that it is a matter of immense pride for the bank to be part of the PM’s Youth Programme, whose main aim is to serve the nation. Leila Khan was apprised that Sindh Bank is one of the fastest growing banks in the country with more than 240 branches.

It was decided in the meeting that Sindh Bank would hold regular meetings with the officials of Prime Minister’s Youth Programme to ensure standard application processing system and for regular upgradation of the programme.

Berry trees cutting at fast pace

affects honey production

ISLAMABAD (APP): Pakistan Beekeepers Association (PBA) President Naeem Qasmi said on Friday that cutting of berry trees at a fast pace was affecting production of honey in the country. Talking to APP, Qasmi said that there were about 35,000 beekeeping farms in Pakistan but only 10,000 of them were registered with the PBA. He said that the beekeepers find themselves in trouble whenever their bees are attacked by termites. And in such a situation, they cannot find anti-termite medicines at reasonable prices, Qasmi said. “The cutting of berry trees is going on without any check and if it is not stopped, the business of honey would be badly affected,” he said.

Currently, he said, Pakistan produces 10,000 tons of honey annually but due to lack of proper rules and regulations the state and the beekeepers are not getting the full advantages of this product. According to a report, 20 per cent of honey is lost every year due to untrained beekeepers.

Pakistan is producing 298,000 metric tons annually, while China is the largest exporter of honey in the world, he added.

He said that the quality which makes Pakistani honey so special was that this type of honey was made of the nectar by the honeybees extracted from the flowers of berry tree (Ziziphus) and fortunately berry trees are grown in abundance in the Potohar region.

Qasmi further said that in Chakwal, Jhelum, Mianwali, Kark, Bannu and Kohat districts, these trees can be seen on the boundary line of every chunk of land. Unlike many other trees, berry blossoms from mid-September to mid-October and this is the period when honeybees do wonders in their hives by the nectar extracted from the flowers, he said.

Malaysian company to invest

in palm oil production

KARACHI (APP): Malaysian company, Felda Global Ventures Plantations has decided to establish a small palm oil factory in Thatta at the cost of Rs 20m  and start two pilot projects of plantation of palm oil trees in Agriculture University Tando Jam. This was decided in a meeting of the officials of company with Sindh Minister for Coastal Development, Dr. Sikander Mendhro, said a statement on Friday. Vice President of Malaysian Company, Soh Kim Yaw and Agronomist, Lee Chin tui called on the Minister at his office in Sindh Assembly Building here. The meeting was told that the team of Malaysian company visited the coastal areas near Thatta and Badin and reviewed the land and environment for plantation of Palm trees.

Speaking on the occasion, the minister said that the government of Sindh wants to save the foreign exchange which is being spent on Palm oil import.

He said that plantation of Palm trees and establishment of Palm oil factory will create more jobs for local people and bring betterment and prosperity to their life.

SECP responds to FBR’s query

 ISLAMABAD (Staff Reporter): The SECP has responded to the FBR’s query and apprised about the companies that had satisfied its compliance requirements but had not filed tax returns with the FBR. The FBR wanted to confirm their filing status with the SECP for the year 2014. The FBR had shared a list of 9,721 companies with the SECP on January 5. These companies did not e-filed income tax returns as of January 5, 2015, but had filed tax returns for the tax year 2013. It emerged that about 62pc of companies, out of 7,444 companies, have filed their annual returns with the SECP in 2014. The lists of 4,641 compliant and 2,803 non-compliant companies have been shared with the FBR.

The SECP carried out a comprehensive exercise to check the status of the said entities/ companies through its online database. In a short span of 10 days, the SECP examined the status of 7,444 companies (76pc) from the provided list.

The status of the remaining 2,277 companies is being checked manually as these companies might not have filed their returns by using the online facility or might not be registered as companies with the SECP.