Pakistan imports pulses and edible oil by spending around Rs400 billion national exchequer which could be saved by promoting its agriculture, said an expert.

Addressing the 41st Batch Common Training Programme at Civil Services Academy Lahore, University of Agriculture Faisalabad Vice Chancellor Dr Iqrar Ahmad Khan said, “If we become self-reliant in edible oil, we can not only save the money but also earn heavy foreign exchange. The country is blessed with four seasons and the best cropping system. It is need of the hour to tap the potential by promoting the latest agriculture practices in order to increase per acre production. It is challenges for the agri scientists and other stakeholders to ensure the food security for ever growing population.”

The delegation was led by Additional Director Khalid Javed. The Vice Chancellor briefed the team about the agriculture sector. Talking about rice, he said Pakistan is exporting rice worth Rs 200 billion at the heavy expense of water, as rice consumes 4,000 litres for one kg production in the era when the water scarcity is haunting the food security.

He said water crisis is deepening and it is imperative to focus water efficient crops. The per capita water availability has reached to 1,000 cubic metre compared to 5,000 cubic metre availability in 1947. He said that severe water crisis looms and can cause devastation in coming years if steps were not taken to sensitize people about rational use of water.

POLIO DRIVE: The anti polio campaign would start from 24th to 26th during which more than 1.3 million children of under five year age would be administered polio vaccine in the district, said District Polio Eradication Committee. A meeting was held with DCO Noor-ul-Amin Mengal in the chair. MPAs Sh Ijaz Ahmad, Azad Ali Tabassum, WHO representatives Dr Asif and Dr Murtaza also attended the meeting.

The DCO directed the Health Department to implement the anti polio campaign on a war footing and no child of under five year age be left without polio vaccine. He warned that there was zero tolerance with regard to administration of anti-polio vaccine.

He directed that a comprehensive plan pertaining to arrangements, operation, monitoring and awareness of the anti polio campaign be devised along with standing operational procedures. He advised for spreading awareness of parents in this regard. He said special teams be deployed at passengers transport stands for administering the polio drops to children travelling with the parents.

MPAs stressed coordinated efforts to make the anti polio drive a success and assured their full cooperation regarding the mobilisation of parents. EDO Health Dr Waqar Sadiq and DO Health Dr. Liaqat Ali briefed the meeting about the arrangements of anti polio campaign and said that staff from private hospitals and other institutions had also been obtained and they had been imparted proper training.