MULTAN-A delegation of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) pointed out on Thursday that Pakistan possesses huge potential for production of fruits, especially dates, adding that Japan was interested in date farming in Pakistan.

The delegation was led by Prof Dr Hirashima while Dr Watanabe, Mr Hamano, Mr Fukimaro, Dr Tominaga and Mr Amir Bokhari were part of it, who visited Muhammad Nawaz Sharif university of Agriculture (MNSUA) on Thursday. The delegates pointed out that Ajwa date could be planted in Pakistan and the JICA would extend full cooperation for this purpose.

The delegation also pointed out that camel milk had amazing benefits for human health. They added that Pakistan also had a potential for camel milk production. The delegation expressed interest in a joint venture for camel milk production in Choolistan.

The delegates were of the opinion that Pakistan is an agro-based country and it needs to focus on agriculture to gain stability. They added that the agriculture sector needs a revolution and Pakistan needs to declare animals and trees its asset. They said that the date trees produced fruits for at least 100 years and they could play a key role in development of Pakistan. They said that the country needs to give its farmers easy access to the market.

Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Asif Ali said that the varsity would set up a tissue culture lab where date plants would be grown and these saplings would be given to the growers.

He briefed the delegates on up-gradation of Multan International Airport and the cargo services available here. He pointed out that the fruit industry is faced with packing and grading issues and the fruit exports could be boosted by overcoming these issues. He told the delegates that the varsity had also set up a South Punjab Agriculture Farm where all agriculture departments had been brought together under one roof. He disclosed that an outreach centre would be set up soon to facilitate the farmers of South Punjab.