The Pakistan Agriculture Research Council (PARC) provided training to as many as eighty (80) farmers and master trainers on tomato cultivation, aiming at enhancing tomato production in the country to reduce dependence on imports.

“We have huge potential to enhance tomato production and reduce dependence on imports which cost billions of rupees to national exchequer,” Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research, Sardar Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan said while addressing the concluding session of the training. He said that the training course will go long way in promoting tomato cultivation and would not only help make the country self-sufficient in the crop production but would also enable us to export the commodity and earn foreign exchange,according to statement issued by PARC here on Wednesday.

“However, coordinated efforts are required to expand such training courses at larger scale to take full advantage of the potential land resources,” he added.

The federal minister lamented that Pakistan was importing tomatoes worth billions of rupees from the neighboring country despite the fact that we have potential and resources available, urging the scientists to focus on training of farmers to promote tomato cultivation.

On the occasion, Secretary Ministry of National Food Security and Research, Seerat Asghar said that little attention has been given towards human resource development and advocated for continuing such course for better results.

He said that future of Pakistan was in Baluchistan, so special attention should be given to this province to exploit the resource potential of this province.

He expressed the hope that the training would lead to development of hybrid seeds and better tomato cultivation, which would not only enhance the income of farmers but would help economic development.

Speaking on the occasion, Chairman PARC, Dr. Iftikhar Ahmad said that this was the first phase of training which would be replicated at provincial and district levels to ensure proper human resource development all across the country.

The PARC Chairman appreciated the managers of the training for organizing such a comprehensive session and expressed the hope that this would definitely bear fruit and help enhance tomato production.

Director General, National Agriculture Research Center (NARC), Dr.

Muhammad Azeem Khan informed that the participants of the training included farmers from 9 districts of Baluchistan and 13 districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Organizers of the training course, Ghulam Jeelani and Taj Naseeb also spoke on the occasion and briefed about the training.

Later, certificates were distributed among the participants of the workshop.