ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Agriculture Research Council (Parc) was working to ensure food security in Thar desert and for the purpose it had cultivated different kinds of fruits, vegetables and fodder crops to promote agriculture sector and create livelihood opportunities for the locals.

Talking to APP on Tuesday, Parc Chairman Dr Muhammad Azeem said the council was engaged to strengthen government’s efforts to eliminate malnutrition and hunger by intervening through agriculture and livestock development.

The Parc, he said, in collaboration with non-governmental organisations had developed different farmers clusters and was providing seeds of different beans to farmers in order to enhance yields.

“We are providing about 200 to 300 mounds seeds of different beans, besides providing 50 to 60 mound beans for the farmers of Tharparkar,” he added.

“We are also working on preservation of local species and preserved about 50 local species including trees, medicinal plants and cultivated moringa”.

Meanwhile, Parc North Zone Director Dr Attaullah said that 14 varieties of guava, matching the local ecology, were also developed and distributed among the farmers to develop fruit orchids.

Besides, 38 varieties of dates were also grown and 13 types of different grasses over 10 acres of land were also grown, he said adding that these interventions had helped create livelihood opportunities as well as fulfilling the food requirements of the local communities.

Meanwhile, forest blocks were also established on four acres and different fruit plants including olive cultivated, he said adding that jojoba plants were grown over 45 acres in order to develop orchards and fruit farming in these areas.

In collaboration with the local foundation, about 50,000 plants of different kinds including fruits and trees for shadow had also been provided to 20 villages, he added.

“We had installed a fertiliser plant to prepare fertiliser by using locust during the current campaign against desert locust and distributed about 1,500 bags of fertilisers among local farmers for producing organic agriculture products,” he added.

He said that Parc was also striving for mechanisation of the agriculture sector in these areas and helping the local farmers through providing them technical assistance.

Published in Dawn, December 30th, 2020

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