KARACHI: University of Agriculture Faisalabad (UAF) and Pakistan Fruits and Vegetables Exporters Association (PFVA) have signed an agreement for research on fruit and vegetable diseases especially those that are hindering agriculture exports in Pakistan.
The top body of exporters and growers sought help from UAF to control widespread diseases especially the presence of ‘fruit fly’ – one of the biggest reasons why Pakistan’s mango consignments were rejected this year by the United Kingdom.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between Vice Chancellor UAF Prof Dr Iqrar Ahmad Khan (SI) and Chairman PFVA Waheed Ahmed.
According to the agreement, the UAF shall develop short, medium and long term road maps for enhancement of exports in consultation with the exporters of the PFVA.
The research team leaders of UAF will develop pre-harvest and post harvest protocols and ‘Product Groups’ for various products like Mango, Kinnow, Onion and Potato after consultation with all stakeholders. The university will conduct workshops to train selected exporters who will in turn conduct awareness training for the growers. UAF will also share existing research work on citrus and mango with PFVA.
PFVA will provide the list of issues to UAF where research work is required while the expenses of research work will be shared on an 80/20 sharing formula between the Higher Education Commission and PFVA.
“This agreement is a milestone as this will provide us an opportunity to find solutions to difficult industry issues like fruit and vegetable diseases and low agriculture output of the country,” Chairman PFVA Waheed Ahmed told The Express Tribune.
This will also help our agriculture industry, as we will be able to develop new varieties of fruits and vegetables that are necessary to feed our growing population and slow growing exports, he said.
This is the first time PFVA has collaborated with UAF.
“Chile, a small South American country, with limited agriculture resources generates $2 billion from exports. Why is Pakistan – with much more resources and a bigger agricultural base – unable to achieve the same amount of export revenue if not more?” said Waheed, adding that the solution of this question lies in how much we strive for Research and Development.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 9th, 2013.