ISLAMABAD, July 31: A project to introduce solar-drying technology for preservation of apricots will soon be launched in Northern Areas by the Pakistan Science Foundation (PSF) in collaboration with the Council of Renewable Energy Technologies (PCRET).

Apricot is one of the fruits abundantly produced in all of the Northern Areas, a spokesman for the PSF said. While it is difficult to sell fresh fruit in urban markets away from the region, sun-dried apricots and other fruits are quite popular in Pakistan.

The dried apricots of Hunza are sold as health products in the UK and other European countries.

The total production of apricots in the area is about 4,500 tons per year. But a huge quantity of these goes to waste due to lack of adequate facilities to preserve them.

The products also suffer deterioration of quality due to the traditional methods of drying and lack of proper storage facilities.

A large part of its production is, therefore, used as fodder.

The Pakistan Science Foundation has decided to disseminate the technology in the area with the participation of Dry Fruit Project of the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme as an end-user and the technical support of PCRET.

A memorandum of understanding in this connection will be signed by the PSF chairman, director-general PCRET and the project manager of the DFP-AKRSP on August 2.

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