FAISALABAD: The country is importing pulses and edible oil worth around Rs400 billion, an amount that can be saved by promoting and strengthening its cultivation. This was stated by University of Agriculture Faisalabad Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Iqrar Ahmad Khan while talking to the 41st Batch’s Common Training Programme at the Civil Services Academy, Lahore.
The delegation was led by Additional Director Khalid Javed.
“If we become self-sufficient in edible oil, we can not only save money but also earn heavy foreign exchange,” said Khan. “The country is blessed with four seasons and the best cropping system. It is the need of the hour to tap its potential by promoting latest agriculture practices in order to increase per acre production.”
Khan added that it was a challenge for the agri scientists and other stakeholders to ensure food security for an ever growing population.
Talking about rice, he said Pakistan is exporting rice worth Rs200 billion at the heavy expense of water, as it consumes 4,000 litres for just one kilogramme of production — this raises eyebrows since we are in a time of water scarcity as well, he added.
“The water crisis is deepening and it is imperative that we switch our focus to water-efficient crops. The per capita water availability has come down to 1,000 cubic metres compared to 5,000 in 1947.”
He said that a severe water crisis looms and can cause devastation in the coming years if steps were not taken to sensitise people about rational use of water.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 20th, 2014.
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