QUETTA: Balochistan Finance Minister Mir Zahoor Ahmad Buledi on Sunday inaugurated a date processing plant in the Jozzak area of Turbat.

Speaking on the occasion, the minister said Mekran division produced 300 types of best quality dates and Balochistan could earn huge foreign exchange by exporting them after their processing.

He said Gwadar, Kech and Panjgur districts were famous for producing dates of very high quality, but for years date crops were being wasted because Makran division did not have a processing plant or cold storage.

Mr Buledi said the date processing plant would be run under a public-private partnership. “In the first phase, the plant will be given to a private company for three years,” he added.

He said the plant would process 140,000 tonnes of dates, while the cold storage would have a capacity to store 100 tonnes of dates.

The minister said the plant would help date growers access the international market and earn foreign exchange for the country.

He said the date processing plant would provide employment opportunities to the people of Turbat and its surrounding areas.

“We can establish a cottage industry on the basis of public-private partnership,” he added.

Mr Buledi said that the government would build a slaughterhouse and a shed for treatment of sick animals at a place adjacent to the command area of Mirani Dam in tehsil Dasht.

Makran Commissioner Tariq Qamar Baloch, Kech Deputy Commis­sioner Ilyas Kibzai, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Darfshan Date Processing Plant Mohammad Jan and Baloch Hamza & Brothers CEO Ali Mohammad were also present on the ­occasion.

Published in Dawn, August 10th, 2020