Dragon fruit cultivation

Pakistan Horticulture Development and Export Company (PHDEC) hosted a webinar about ‘Unlocking the Potential: Dragon Fruit Cultivation Techniques and Future Opportunities’, according to a press release.

Recognising the increased production of dragon fruit in Pakistan and export opportunities from Pakistan to China due to its unique appearance, vibrant colours, and health benefits have contributed to its rise in demand. Pakistan Horticulture Development and Export Company organised a webinar to guide farmers in the production technology of dragons.

Sajid Iqbal Sindhu, Director General (Punjab) of the Agri-Tourism Develop­ment Corporation of Pakistan,stated thatPakistan’s warm climate and fertile soils make it an ideal location for cultivating dragon fruit.

He recommended sustainable agronomic practices, such as integrated pest management and organic fertilisation, which ensure the long-term viability and environmental compatibility of dragon fruit cultivation.

A large number of participants from growers, exporters, R&D, and academia participated in the webinar and appreciated the PHDEC’s initiative to conduct it on this important topic.

Literature for kids

HabibMetro has partnered with GoRead.pk to publish “The Memory Box”, a children’s book written by Nusser Sayeed and illustrated by Saleha Ghani, as per a press release.

GoRead.pk’s major initiatives include Kahaani Sawaari, a unique programme that mobilises children from less fortunate communities for storytelling sessions in outdoor spaces. The organisations have also placed hanging libraries with cloth-made bookshelves in areas such as Lyari and Shah Faisal Colony, Karachi.

Through literature, children are inspired to embrace beneficial habits and empowered to play constructive roles in society and contribute to its development.

Career fair for PWD

The Office of Diversity, Accessibility, and Inclusion (ODAI) under the umbrella of the Office of Student Affairs (OSA) at the Institute of Business Administration (IBA) Karachi and ConnectHear, a social enterprise led by aspiring youth working for sign language accessibility and deaf-inclusion in Pakistan, jointly hosted a career fair at the IBA Main Campus as per a press release.

The career fair focused on supporting Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) and promoted inclusivity and accessibility on campus, with 33 organisations and 700 PWDs being provided a platform to connect with potential employers and explore career opportunities in a supportive environment.

The Country Head of Human Resources of Standard Chartered Bank Pakistan, Muhammad Umar, presented the keynote, saying, “To create an inclusive society, we need to ensure equal opportunities for everyone.”

SLIC’s FY23 financial results

The State Life Insurance Corporation of Pakistan (SLIC) announced its financial results for FY23. SLIC’s annual income was over Rs526bn, 37pc higher than the previous year. Its total annual premium income surpassed Rs338bn, which was higher by 18pc compared to FY22, and an investment income of over Rs257bn as per a press release.

The profit before tax for FY23 increased to Rs24.5bn — more than 18pc greater than FY22’s value — while the profit after tax was Rs14.7bn.

Beyond that, SLIC also launched its corporate and individual health plans in 2023, diversifying its product portfolio with a commitment to meet the protection needs of all Pakistanis across all strata of society.

ABHI expands operations to KSA

ABHI has expanded its operations to Saudi Arabia after UAE, Bangladesh and Pakistan, according to a press release. The fintech operator signed a strategic partnership with Saudi technological giant, Alraedah Digital Solutions, a leading technology company and the innovation arm of Alraedah Digital Group.

Under the terms of the agreement, ABHI will gain access to Alraedah’s expansive knowledge and understanding of the local Saudi market to collaboratively launch innovative financing products in KSA.

On the other hand, Alraedah will enable access to $200m over the course of three years to develop products that apply ABHI’s proprietary technology, localised for the Saudi market. ABHI’s entry into the KSA market represents a significant step towards advancing financial inclusion and expanding access to credit for underserved communities.

Published in Dawn, The Business and Finance Weekly, May 13th, 2024

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