LAHORE - An amount of Rs140.220 million have been approved for funding seven higher priority research projects in 22nd meeting of Board of Directors of Punjab Agricultural Research Board (PARB) on Wednesday. Malik Ahmad Ali Aulakh, Minister for Agriculture, Punjab chaired the meeting. According to details, Rs22.82 million was approved for the project Development of Tomato hybrids suitable for sowing in tunnels and open fields of Punjab aimed at availability of at least three locally developed tomato hybrids suitable for sowing in tunnels and open fields to prolong the supply of fresh tomato. An amount of Rs.12.654 million was approved for Improvement of value chain and tradability of farmers produce with the objective of growing crops as per international Food Safety Standards and help farmers / private operators to establish trading platforms equipped with required infrastructure. Punjab Institute of Agricultural Marketing (PIAM) will also get 6 master trainers trained from China and build the capacity of the extension agents, farmers and other stakeholders. Besides imparting training to the stakeholders, PIAM will also regularly monitor the forward and backwards linkages with the trading platforms. Moreover, an amount of Rs.12.36 million was approved for the project Clonal Propagation of Guava through Soft Wood Cuttings with the objectives of availability of 5 quality guava cultivars, standardized propagation technique through soft wood cuttings and establishment of progeny guava orchards. The Board of Directors also approved Rs.8.055 million for the project Development of high yielding and fusarium wilt tolerant / resistant early season varieties of peas. Under this development project field losses will be minimized through the development of one high yielding and fusarium wilt tolerant pea variety. Sugar Leaf is a perennial shrub and is grown commercially in many parts of Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Central America, Thailand and China. Stevioside, the main sweet component in the leaves of the Stevia plant is about 300 times sweeter than table sugar. To import genotypes, test adaptability of sugar leaf plants in Punjab and develop processing technology for table use an amount of Rs.22.750 was also allocated for the project Development and dissemination of production technology of Sugar Leaf. Further more an amount of Rs.41.485 million was also approved for Development and commercialization of indigenous transgenic cotton hybrids with the objective to develop six cotton hybrids with genetic resistance to bollworms and non-selective herbicide Glyphosate. Earlier it was briefed in the meeting that PARB has provided Rs.436.904 million for agricultural research during last two years. Arif Nadeem, Secretary Agriculture told that higher priority and demand driven research projects are funded by PARB under competitive grant system.