Rawalpindi - Pir Mehr Ali Shah Arid Agriculture University Rawalpindi (PMAS-AAUR) organised “Stevia Kissan Mela” in collaboration with Ayub Agricultural Research Institute (AARI) Faisalabad and Punjab Agriculture Department here on Wednesday with an aim to promote stevia cultivation.

On the occasion, Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Rai Niaz Ahmad was the chief guest. He said that stevia was complete substitute for sugar and especially important for patients with diabetes. He further said that farmers should cultivate stevia and they could earn a net profit of Rs 470,000 per acre annually from stevia cultivation at the commercial level. He assured the participants that PMAS-AAUR would support to promote stevia cultivation, processing, research, marketing extraction and its use at large scale.

On this occasion, Stevia Project Director Hafiz M Akram said that stevia cultivation trials were successful in 12 districts of Punjab and technology has been developed to cultivate stevia through seeds which was very much convenient for stevia cultivation. He also said that experimental phase of stevia plant has been successfully completed at 12 different districts of Punjab and now planning for its commercialization is under way. He further told that stevia was a complete natural substitute of sugar. It is 15 times sweeter than sugar and its extract is 300 times sweeter than sugar. Stevia leaves also contain 30 percent protein and 53 percent carbohydrates. Due to medicinal importance Stevia leaves have enough calcium for growing children and women.